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Signs and Symptoms

Some patients may have no symptoms of disease. MDS may be detected before symptoms appear, as a result of laboratory tests that were part of a routine medical examination.

However, people with MDS often have low levels of one or more types of blood cells. A decrease below normal in the amount of blood cells is called cytopenia. Most MDS symptoms are caused by a lack of red blood cells, white blood cells or platelets in the blood.

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 or chest discomfort, especially with exertion
  • 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 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

  • Easy bruising
  • Bleeding


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