Signs & Symptoms Hematology & Blood & Marrow Transplant (BMT)

Myelodysplastic Syndromes
Signs and Symptoms

In myelodysplastic syndromes, the bone marrow is heavily infiltrated with MDS cells, which do a poor job of producing mature blood cells. Signs and symptoms include:

  • Low red blood cells counts, causing fatigue and shortness of breath
  • Abnormal white blood cells called neutrophils, which kill germs poorly, resulting in infection with bacteria, fungi or atypical mycobacteria (relatives of tuberculosis)
  • Low platelet counts, causing bleeding

The typical MDS patient is 60 to 80 years old with mild to modest anemia — low levels of red blood cells — in which iron, vitamin and endocrine gland deficiencies have been ruled out as a cause. The anemia usually progresses and reaches a point where the patient needs red blood cell transfusions.

UCSF Health medical specialists have reviewed this information. It is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or other health care provider. We encourage you to discuss any questions or concerns you may have with your provider.

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