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
- 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
- Download or order The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's free booklet, Myelodysplastic Syndromes.