Myelodysplastic syndromes are a group of disorders caused by poorly formed or dysfunctional blood cells. Myelodysplastic syndromes occur when something goes wrong in your bone marrow — the spongy material inside your bones where blood cells are made.
There is no cure for myelodysplastic syndromes. Treatment for myelodysplastic syndromes usually focuses on reducing or preventing complications of the disease and of treatments. In certain cases, myelodysplastic syndromes are treated with a bone marrow transplant, which may help prolong life.
Myelodysplastic syndromes rarely cause signs or symptoms in the early stages of the disease. In time, myelodysplastic syndromes may cause:
When to see a doctor
Petechiae may look like a rash and usually appear in clusters. Here they appear on a leg (A) and on an abdomen (B). ...
Myelodysplastic syndromes occur when something happens to disrupt the orderly and controlled production of blood cells. People with myelodysplastic syndromes have blood cells that are immature and defective, and instead of developing normally, they die in the bone marrow or just after entering your bloodstream. Over time, the number of immature, defective cells begins to surpass that of healthy blood cells, leading to problems such as anemia, infections and excess bleeding.
Doctors divide myelodysplastic syndromes into two categories based on their cause:
Types of myelodysplastic syndromes
Factors that may increase your risk of myelodysplastic syndromes include:
Complications of myelodysplastic syndromes include:
Preparing for your appointment
Whom to see
How to prepare
Questions to ask
In addition to the questions that you've prepared to ask your doctor, don't hesitate to ask questions during your appointment at any time that you don't understand something.
Tests and diagnosis
If abnormal numbers of blood cells have been detected in your blood, your doctor may begin with tests and procedures to rule out diseases and conditions other than myelodysplastic syndromes that have similar signs and symptoms.
In addition, your doctor may recommend tests and procedures used to diagnose myelodysplastic syndromes, such as:
Bone marrow biopsy
In a bone marrow aspiration and biopsy, a doctor or nurse uses a thin needle to remove a small amount of liquid bone marrow, usually from a spot in the back of your hipbone called the posterior iliac ...
Treatments and drugs
No definitive cure or treatment for myelodysplastic syndromes exists. Instead, most people receive supportive care to help manage symptoms such as fatigue and to prevent bleeding and infections.
Bone marrow stem cell transplant
Lifestyle and home remedies
Because people with certain myelodysplastic syndromes have low white blood cell counts, they're subject to recurrent, and often serious, infections. To reduce your risk of infections, try to:
Last Updated: 2009-10-13
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