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Myelodysplastic Syndromes Signs and Symptoms

Myelodysplastic syndromes are a group of disorders in which the bone marrow does not make enough healthy blood cells. This results in poorly formed blood cells that are dysfunctional. There is no cure for myelodysplastic syndromes. Treatments aim for reducing or preventing complications of the disease. Bone marrow transplants can sometimes prolong life. We have put together a list of common signs and symptoms of myelodysplastic syndromes below.

Also, we have information on diagnosis, helpful books and valuable resources for patients.

The Signs and Symptoms of Myelodysplastic Syndromes

Initially, there are no signs and symptoms of myelodysplastic diseases. In later stages, the symptoms are:

  • Chronic tiredness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Anemia
  • Pale skin
  • Unusual bruising or bleeding
  • Flat pinpoint dots under the skin caused by bleeding
  • Fever
  • Frequent infections

Myelodysplastic syndromes usually occur in adults older than age sixty, though they can occur in younger patients as well. They rarely occur in children. They occur in men more frequently than women. Risk factors include exposure to heavy metals and/or chemicals such as tobacco smoke, pesticides, benzene, mercury and lead, and exposure to chemotherapy and radiation toxins.

Diagnosis of Myelodysplastic Syndromes

Tests that help to diagnose myelodysplastic syndromes include blood tests, namely a complete blood count (CBC) and a peripheral blood smear to analyze the size and shape of various blood cells. Another test is the bone marrow biopsy and aspiration to look for abnormal cells.

Books For People With Signs and Symptoms of Myelodysplastic Syndromes

Medifocus Guidebook on: Myelodysplastic Syndromes
100 Questions & Answers About Myelodysplastic Syndromes
Jason R. Gotlib

Myelodysplastic Syndromes: Clinical and Biological Advances
Peter L. Greenberg
Myelodysplastic Syndromes & Secondary Acute Myelogenus Leukemia: Directions for the New Millennium (Cancer Treatment and Research)
Azra Raza

Resources for Myelodysplastic Syndromes

General Patient Resources

  • National Cancer Institute

Expert-reviewed information summary about the treatment of myelodysplastic syndromes.

  • Leukemia and Lymphoma Society

Learn more about Myelodysplastic Syndromes on this page. Read about what to know and do after your MDS diagnosis and blood cancer facts and statistics.

  • MDS Foundation

Provides information about the organization and the disease. Offers research updates, international registry, continuing education, and forums.

  • About . com

Expert-reviewed information about the symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of myelodysplastic syndromes.

  • MD Anderson Cancer Centers

Information on myelodysplastic syndrome, types, risk factors, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment options.

  • American Cancer Society

Information and resources for myelodysplastic syndromes.

  • Med Help

Myelodysplastic Syndrome Help Forum. This forum is for help, questions and support regarding Myelodysplastic Syndrome.

Medical Resources

  • Mayo Clinic

Comprehensive overview covers symptoms, causes, treatment of these serious blood cell disorders.