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What Are the Signs and Symptoms of ET?

Many people with essential thrombocythemia (ET) have no symptoms. They may not know they have the condition until it is diagnosed after a routine lab exam, or they develop a blood clot.

Clots caused by this condition most often happen in the brain, hands, and feet.

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Symptoms of ET depend on where the clot forms. They include:

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Are there activities that you were able to do 3 months ago that you struggle with now?

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How much does your inactivity influence your day-to-day activities?

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Day or Night Sweats

Do you experience sweating, particularly at night or in the evenings? How often did this happen in the past month?

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When you shower, do you ever feel itchy afterwards? How often?

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Bone Pain

Have you felt any deep achiness throughout your body that causes you to limit your activities?

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Unintentional Weight Loss

Are you losing weight, and if so, how much weight have you lost over the last 6 months?

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How often have you had a fever of >100 degrees Fahrenheit?

Cause of These Symptoms:

Inflammation caused by high levels of certain proteins (cytokines) in the blood

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Brain Fog

How often have you felt memory lapses, inability to pay attention for long periods, or having problems concentrating?

Cause of Symptom:

Having too many platelets (hyperviscosity)

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Abdominal Pain or Discomfort

Do you have abdominal discomfort, particularly after eating?

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An Early Feeling of Fullness

Do you feel full quickly after meals?

Cause of These Symptoms:

Enlarged spleen (splenomegaly)

Additional symptoms you may experience include:

  • Chest pain
  • Fainting
  • Numbness or tingling in the hands and feet
  • Redness, throbbing, and burning pain in the hands and feet
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness or numbness on one side
  • Vision changes that eventually go away
  • Bruising or bleeding easily
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According to the MPN Landmark Survey,* 56% of patients with ET reported that their symptoms reduced their quality of life.

*The MPN Landmark Survey was a web-based questionnaire, sponsored by Incyte, intended to help evaluate the patient disease burden in the MPN setting. A total of 813 patients in the US diagnosed with MF, PV, or ET completed the survey (207 with MF; 380 with PV; and 226 with ET).

Image of Christine, an MPN Community Member

It is so risky when you do not open up to your physician…I think it’s important to give all your symptoms. —Christine, MPN Community Member

Why Is It Important to Track ET Symptoms?

Because ET is a progressive condition, it has the potential to change over time. That means that some of the signs and symptoms may change as well. This is why it’s important to take an active role in monitoring your condition over time by tracking your ET on a regular basis—and by sharing any and all symptom changes with your Healthcare Professional. Remember, by speaking up and spelling out the impact of your ET symptoms at every visit, you can become an empowered advocate for your own care.

Careful symptom tracking provides a number of valuable insights. Not only does it help identify trends within your health, but it can also help you and your Healthcare Professional better understand how to manage and adjust your care over time.

It is important to keep track of any symptoms you have, even if you are not sure they are related to your condition. Don’t assume that any symptom is too minor or not worth recording. Tracking and talking to your Healthcare Professional about your symptoms helps you both:

  • Understand how ET is affecting you
  • Follow how your ET is changing over time
  • Discuss options for managing your ET and its symptoms

Remember, these insights will help your Healthcare Professional understand what’s happening with your condition over time—and that can help ensure that your ET management approach is the right one for you.


Watch as physician assistant and Medical Science Liaison (MSL) at Incyte Amber Essenmacher reviews important topics that can help you talk with your Healthcare Professional about your ET.

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Use the ET Tracker Tool

Track symptoms, blood counts, and procedures with the ET tracker tool