High blood viscosity can be a secondary symptom of many different diseases. Treatment for this condition depends on how thick the blood is and can include the administration of fluids, plasmapheresis, or phlebotomy. It may be possible to wait and see whether treatment is actually needed, though severe cases of high blood viscosity require immediate treatment.
The first step in the treatment of high blood viscosity is positive identification of the disorder. Symptoms may include sleepiness, headaches, redness of the skin and seizures. These symptoms can be indicative of other conditions, including conditions that involve a low red blood cell count. In order to make sure that a patient is receiving proper treatment, a doctor will need to do a test that measures the level of red blood cells in the body. This will ensure that treatment is appropriate and will be beneficial for the patient.
Once a doctor determines that the red blood cell count is too high, treatment can begin. Patients are often given fluids that are used to treat dehydration. These fluids, added to the bloodstream, can thin out the ratio of blood cells to blood plasma.
Treatment for high blood viscosity is determined by how thick the blood is. One common treatment is plasmapheresis or a blood plasma exchange. In this procedure, blood is taken from the patient and the plasma, which is the liquid component of blood, is removed. After the patient’s plasma is taken out of the blood, donated blood plasma is added to the patient’s blood cells, so that the ratio of blood cells to plasma is at a normal level. The blood cells and donor plasma are then given to the patient.
Phlebotomy is another common treatment for high blood viscosity. This simple procedure involves the removal of some blood from a patient’s blood stream. A small incision in a vein is used to control how much blood is removed.
There are a number of different causes of high blood viscosity and the treatment for the condition depends on the reason that the patient is experiencing the condition. Patients who have an increased red blood cell count due to a chronic condition, such as hypertension, may not benefit in the long run from high blood viscosity treatment. Monitoring and conservative use of treatment may be best for these patients, as frequent use of phlebotomy or plasmapheresis can have an adverse effect on a patient.