What Is Polycythemia Vera? Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatment

More than 90 percent of people with polycythemia vera have a mutation, or defect, in a gene called JAK2 (Janus kinase 2).

 Though researchers know that this gene plays a role in the development of the disease, they’re not exactly sure why.

The JAK2 gene mutation typically isn’t inherited, though there have been a few documented cases of the disease being passed down in families.

You usually acquire this gene change throughout your lifetime. It’s not known why someone develops this mutation.

Males are slightly more likely to develop polycythemia vera than females. People older than 60 are, too. Other risk factors include having been exposed to radiation or toxic substances.

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