Myelodysplastic syndrome

Myelodysplastic syndrome is a condition in which there is an abnormality of the bone marrow. This abnormality causes an inadequate production of blood cells in the bone marrow. When the term Myelodysplastic Syndrome it always means that it has to do with healthy or low red blood cell production. Myelodysplastic Syndrome can happen to people at any age. However, it is most often seen in people who are over the age of 60. It may or may not be linked with genetic disorders. Sometimes it is associated with exposures to radiation. This condition has also developed in people because of unknown causes. People who have been exposed to environmental toxins and radiation are at increased risk of developing Myelodysplastic syndrome as well as other health problems. Myelodysplastic syndrome affects from 15,000 to 20,000 new patients in the United States each year. There really has been no effective treatment found for this condition yet so the focus is on preventing complications and reducing the effects of this disease through supportive treatments. It has been found that younger patients may live longer if they receive a bone marrow transplant.

A person who has developed this disease may not display any symptoms at all. Others will suffer from several symptoms that the low blood count causes such as extreme fatigue. The patient is often not diagnosed with this disease until they see a hematologist and a bone marrow test is done. The bone marrow sample has to be examined by a hemotopathologist for a correct diagnosis. There are different classes of Myelodysplastic syndrome which are determined by the findings done on a peripheral blood smear and the bone marrow histology. There are a number of diseases it can be classified under Myelodysplastic syndrome as such as refractory anemia, refractory cytopenia with mulitlineage dyspasia, refractory anemia with ringed sideroblasts and refractory anemia with excess blasts. Each classification requires a different treatment approach. Each one also involves problems with different blood cells.

The disease can develop after treatment for other health conditions that involve the patient undergoing drug treatment or radiation therapy. Smoking can also increase the risk for developing this disease. Some of the symptoms of Myelodysplastic syndrome are anemia, bleeding, bruising, fever, frequent infections, shortness of breath and general feelings of tiredness. The patient may also have abnormal granules in the cells with an abnormal nucleus or size. The patient may also experience chest pain.

Some of the treatments for this disease involve central line access for chemotherapy and transfusions. Transfusions of red blood cells are often needed to help relieve anemia. Bone marrow transplants may be warranted for some individuals who have Myelodysplastic syndrome. Bone marrow transplants are more often done for younger patients to extend their life. Bone marrow transplants involve transplanting bone marrow from a donor into the patient’s body. If the transplant is successful the body does not reject the bone marrow it will begin making enough of its own normal red blood cells. Drip transfusions of blood platelets can also help relieve anemia and fatigue. Other patients can be given certain medications designed to encourage immature blood cells to mature. Antibiotics to prevent infections are also given to people with this disease as supportive treatment. People who develop Myelodysplastic syndrome can develop leukemia if their condition progresses. One way to reduce your risk of developing Myelodysplastic syndrome is to reduce your exposure to harmful environmental toxins. Avoiding exposure to certain chemicals and radiation can also reduce your risks. The first step to detecting this disease is to have a yearly blood test and report any extreme feeling of fatigue to your medial doctor.

Last updated on Aug 7th, 2010 and filed under Other Conditions & Diseases. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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