Myelodysplastic Syndromes - Detailed Information

Myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) refers to a heterogeneous group of closely linked clonal hematopoietic disorders. Myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) are a group of diseases that involve the bone marrow and blood. The bone marrow in myelodysplastic syndrome is typically more active than normal and yet the numbers of blood cells in the circulation are reduced. This is because most of the cells being produced in the bone marrow are defective and are destroyed before they leave the bone marrow to enter the blood stream. The hallmark of the myelodysplastic syndromes is the combination of a hyperactive marrow with low blood cell counts.

A reduction in numbers of all types of blood cell is called pancytopaenia. The other common feature of the myelodysplastic syndromes is abnormality in the appearance of the bone marrow and blood cells. These abnormalities are characteristic of the condition. MDS might be linked to heavy exposure to several chemicals, such as certain solvents or pesticides, or to radiation. MDS can also be caused by treatment with chemotherapy or radiation therapy for other diseases. This is called treatment-related MDS or secondary MDS. The symptoms of myelodysplastic syndrome are related to the lack of normal blood cells.

Lack of red blood cells results anemia (leading to tiredness and shortness of breath). Lack of white blood cells leaves the body open to infection. Lack of platelet cells makes it accomplish for the blood to clot (leading to unusual bruising or bleeding) Different people are affected in different ways by myelodysplastic syndrome, and its symptoms can range from mild to very severe. Some people may only have long-term (chronic) anemia. MDS usually occurs in older people, typically starting after age 50. Myelodysplastic syndrome is rarely inherited. MDS can affect people of any age, more than 80% of cases are in people over age 60.

Men are more likely than women to develop MDS. This is most marked in the typical older patient group. The myelodysplastic syndromes are accomplished to treat because of the unusual combination of hyperactive marrow but not enough blood cell production. People with high risk myelodysplasia may only need supportive treatment to help improve any symptoms caused by low blood counts. Others may need chemotherapy, or it may be possible for a small number of people to have a stem cell transplant. Cytotoxic chemotherapy is used in MDS patients with increasing myeloblasts. Supportive care includes transfusion of RBCs or platelets.
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