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Signs and Symptoms

Some patients initially have no symptoms of MDS, and abnormal results from routine blood tests may be the earliest signs of the disease. For patients with symptoms, it is common not to feel well because of the lack of normal, healthy blood cells.

Anemia is a decrease in the number of healthy red blood cells. Red blood cells carry oxygen throughout the body. Anemia may cause symptoms such as

  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness 
  • Shortness of breath during normal physical activity 
  • Headache 
  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat 
  • Pale skin

Neutropenia is a decrease in the number of healthy white blood cells. White blood cells help the body fight infection. Neutropenia can lead to patients having fevers and frequent or severe infections.

Thrombocytopenia is a decrease in the number of healthy platelets. Platelets help control bleeding and are involved in wound healing. Thrombocytopenia may cause symptoms such as

  • Bruising easily
  • Prolonged bleeding from minor cuts
  • Pinhead-sized red spots on the skin (petechiae) 
  • Frequent and/or severe nosebleeds
  • Bleeding gums

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