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  1. #1
    Registered User lotusbananas's Avatar
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    Question Polycythemia vera and how it will effect my gains?

    Hi,

    I was recently diagnosed with polycythemia vera. My blood is very thick and I suffer from fatigue because my blood can't carry oxygen around my body like a normal person can.

    I also have to get 1 unit (500mL) of blood removed every month.

    Even if you have no experience with this cancer, any input on how having less blood oxygen hitting my muscles or on how losing 10% of my blood will impact my ability to get a good pump and build mass.

    Thank you
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  2. #2
    Registered User Heisman2's Avatar
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    Should not impact anything if you can train hard. The big question is if hard training and the associated transient increases in blood pressure or any blood stasis while lifting will increase your risk of clots/stroke as it will already but higher from the polycythemia vera. Talk to your heme/onc doctor or other specialist about this concern and see if there should be any restrictions on the activity that you do.

    If there are no restrictions then all the standard advice given on this forum will apply to you as well.
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  3. #3
    Registered User lotusbananas's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Heisman2 View Post
    Should not impact anything if you can train hard. The big question is if hard training and the associated transient increases in blood pressure or any blood stasis while lifting will increase your risk of clots/stroke as it will already but higher from the polycythemia vera. Talk to your heme/onc doctor or other specialist about this concern and see if there should be any restrictions on the activity that you do.

    If there are no restrictions then all the standard advice given on this forum will apply to you as well.
    Thank you. I am 25 years old. My cardiology and pulmonary tests came back great. That's when they sent me to get bloodwork done and found out I had PV. Was worried I would not be able to gain mass/maintain.
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    Registered User hardyboysare's Avatar
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    Disclaimer this doesn't replace any knowledge from a medical professional whom will offer better guidance then me or a forum in general.

    You don't need to worry about losing the blood part I can ensure you (I work for the national blood service in the UK). Your body will replenished most of the fluid part (plasma) of blood in 24hrs and the platelets in 2/3 days and with most of your blood cells will be returned in 4 weeks. It is advise not to exercise until the fluid part has returned after a blood withdraw (so 1-2 days). The fact you will have less blood has been shown to effect performance for extreme events such as marathon running but general exercise there is very little performance difference.

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6467450/

    You don't need a pump to build muscle either you need a progressive overload which is quite able to achieve without a pump.

    As for your condition I am not an expert on it except the basic knowledge. My grandad use to have something similar with having think blood (hypercoagulability) and he was required to take warfarin throughout his life. All I can advised based on his experience is resting more often throughout the exercises as it is possible you may fatigue quicker then the average person. I would focus more on lower volume with greater intensity then higher volume as it is likely you will overreach a lot quicker try to push out more and more volume.

    For muscle growth as long as you can keep progressing on your lifts you will be fine.

    Other then that I would advise you speak to your medical professional for a more personal plan.
    Last edited by hardyboysare; 12-03-2019 at 10:35 AM.
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  5. #5
    Registered User lotusbananas's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by hardyboysare View Post
    Disclaimer this doesn't replace any knowledge from a medical professional whom will offer better guidance then me or a forum in general.

    You don't need to worry about losing the blood part I can ensure you (I work for the national blood service in the UK). Your body will replenished most of the fluid part (plasma) of blood in 24hrs and the platelets in 2/3 days and with most of your blood cells will be returned in 4 weeks. It is advise not to exercise until the fluid part has returned after a blood withdraw (so 1-2 days). The fact you will have less blood has been shown to effect performance for extreme events such as marathon running but general exercise there is very little performance difference.

    You don't need a pump to build muscle either you need a progressive overload which is quite able to achieve without a pump.

    As for your condition I am not an expert on it execept the basic knowledge. My grandad use to have something similar with having think blood (hypercoagulability) and he was required to take warfarin throughout his life. All I can advised based on his experience is resting more often throughout the exercises as it is possible you may fatigue quicker then the average person. I would focus more on lower volume with greater intensity then higher volume as it is likely you will overreach a lot quicker try to push out more and more volume.

    For muscle growth as long as you can keep progressing on your lifts you will be fine.

    Other then that I would advise you speak to your medical professional for a more personal plan.
    My hypercellular bone marrow spits out (deformed) blood cells which is a big reason why oxygen flows so much slower. This was my biggest concern. My performance at the gym has dropped but this just motivates me to focus strictly on bodybuilding.
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