Polycythemia (elevated red blood cell count) is a rare blood disease in which the body produces too many red blood cells. Causes of polycythemia are either primary (acquired or genetic mutations) or secondary (diseases, conditions, high altitude). Examples of primary polycythemia include:
Genetics play a role in the development of COPD.  It is more common among relatives of those with COPD who smoke than unrelated smokers.  Currently, the only clearly inherited risk factor is alpha 1-antitrypsin deficiency (AAT).  This risk is particularly high if someone deficient in alpha 1-antitrypsin also smokes.  It is responsible for about 1–5% of cases   and the condition is present in about 3–4 in 10,000 people.  Other genetic factors are being investigated,  of which there are likely to be many.