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Symptoms of Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS)
MDS produces few symptoms until well into the course of the disease. When symptoms finally appear, they are not at all specific for MDS and may require extensive investigation to pin down their source. Symptoms may be due to any of the three principal functions of the bone marrow: oxygen carrying, blood clotting, and controlling infection.
If you experience any of these symptoms do not assume it is due to cancer. Most of these symptoms may be caused by other, less serious health conditions. If you experience any one of them, see your physician.
Symptoms due to Anemia
Anemia occurs when the red blood cell count drops. Symptoms of anemia include the following:
In people with heart disease, anemia may cause the following:
In people with a history of cerebrovascular disease, anemia may increase the risk of:
Symptoms Due to a Bleeding Disorder
MDS may also decrease the number of platelets, which are essential for blood clotting. When blood clotting is impaired, the following symptoms may occur:
Symptoms Due to Infection
MDS damages your immune system, making it unable to fight off even minor infections. This may cause prolonged or progressing infections. Skin and respiratory infections are the most common.
Castro-Malaspina H, O’Reilly RJ. Aplastic anemia and the myelodysplastic syndromes. In: Kasper DL, Harrison TR. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 14th ed. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill; 1998.
Silverman LR. Myelodysplastic syndrome. American Cancer Society website. Available at: http://www.nci.nih.gov/cancer_information/ . Accessed November 30, 2002.
Last reviewed March 2013 by Mohei Abouzied, MD
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