Polycythemia vera is a unique blood disorder in which there is an raise in all blood cells, particularly red blood cells. The increase in blood cells makes your blood thicker. This can lead to strokes or tissue and organ damage. Polycythemia vera is caused by a genetic change that develops during your lifetime. It is not an inherited genetic disorder. In most cases it is not known why this happens. There is no cure for polycythemia vera, but proper treatment can help to reduce or delay any problems. Work with your healthcare provider to create a treatment plan that fits your needs. You should also be physically active in order to increase your heart rate and improve your blood flow and also avoid situations in which you could be hurt, and check your feet for any sores.