Myelo Dysplastic Syndrome

Myelo Dysplastic Syndrome (MDS)

Myelo dysplastic syndrome (MDS) is often called as bone marrow disorders. It is defined as group of blood disorders wherein the healthy blood cells in the body is interrupted. Most of the time, these are productive blood cells which are defective and were unable to do their jobs. These blood cells are often destroyed before it can even enter the bloodstream thus most of the patients who suffer from MDS have low blood count with very limited cells in their blood.

All three blood cells in the body are affected by MDS which includes red blood cells, white blood cells and even the platelets.

What are the Different Types of MDS?

There are two common types of MDS. These are refractory anemia and refractory anemia with excess blasts.

The rest of the classifications are as follow

  • refractory cytopenia with unilineage dysplasia
  • refractory anemia with ringed sideroblasts
  • refractory anemia with excess blasts-1
  • refractory anemia with excess blasts-2
  • myelodyplastic syndrome associated with isolated

    bone marrow

    Source : wikipedia

Signs and Symptoms of Myelo Dysplastic Syndrome

One of the most common symptoms of MDS is paleness and tiredness due to the very limited red blood cells in the blood. Those who have extreme problems with the white blood cell count suffer repeated long and lasting infections due to weakened immune system while those with platelet concerns suffer from longer bleeding and bruising experience.

Causes of Myelo Dysplastic Syndrome

MDS is triggered by variety of reasons. Some of this includes one or more of the following: cigarette smoking, anti-cancer treatments, exposure to high levels of radiation, and exposure to certain chemicals.

Anti – Cancer Treatments

Patients who are using procarbizine, mechlorethamine, chlorambucil, etoposide, doxorubicin, teniposide and cyclophosphamide are also prone to suffer from MDS. Thus it is a must that patients inform their physician about this matter whenever they experience any abnormalities in their body after taking these medications.


It is a proven fact that smoking increases the risk of MDS. Tobacco smoke can easily be absorbed through the bloodstream before it reaches the lungs thus harmful substances may easily spread to the different parts of the body.

Environmental Exposures

High dosages of radiation exposure like the atomic bomb that happened in Hiroshima and the recent nuclear spill brought about by the 2011 destructive tsunami increases the risk of MDS development. Moreover, workers who are exposed to benzene and certain chemicals particularly those in the petroleum and rubber industry should also be cautious of the risk of developing MDS.


There are also on-going researches which seek to find the relationship of genetics and the development of this condition. So far, they have discovered a link between disorders like familial platelet disorder, Shwachman-Diamond syndrome, Fanconi anemia and severe congenital neutropnia and MDS.

Statistics of MDS Syndrome

In the UK alone, there is an estimated 2,000 individual who suffer from this condition and it greatly affects men rather than women.

Diagnosis of Myelo Dysplastic Syndrome

Myelo Dysplastic Syndrome diagnosis begins with reviewing the medical history and symptoms. The doctor will ask for a complete blood count report which helps the doctor to compare the patient’s blood count with the standard counts. Most of the time MDS is detected incidentally while performing blood test for some other reason. The doctor may further ask for a bone marrow biopsy which shows the bone marrow cellularity or the quality and quantity of bone marrow cells.

In case of Myelo Dysplastic Syndrome, one or more type of blood cells will be abnormal. Bone marrow biopsy shows hypo or hyper cellularity.

Treatment of Myelo Dysplastic Syndrome

There are different types of MDS treatments available for patients. Some are already approved used treatment while some are still tested in clinical trials for the improvement of these products.

Supportive Care

This type of treatment includes the following: transfusion therapy, growth factor therapy, drugs therapy.

Transfusion Therapy

This is a method wherein the red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets are replenished with healthy cells through blood transfusion. However, patients may experiences some organ and tissue damage due to repetitive blood cell transfusions.

Growth Factor Therapy

This treatment uses the injection of erythropoietin which increases the number of red blood cells thus lessen the ill effects anemia. At times, granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) may be given together with erythropoietin for enhanced results.


Source : wikipedia

Drug Therapy

Below are the lists of drugs which may be used to help treat MDS.


It may be used to treat excessive iron in the blood together with Vitamin C.


This is used to help lessen the need for blood transfusions particularly those who suffer from mylodysplastic syndrome caused by particular chromosome change.

Antithymocyte Globulin (ATG)

This acts very much like that of Lenalidomide but specifically targets patients with particular form of myelo dysplastic syndrome.


This is prescribed by doctors in order to help assist the body in fighting infections.


This is another treatment for MDS wherein drugs are injected into the vein or muscles of the patient in order to halt the growth of immature and unhealthy blood cells. Once these intravenous drugs enter the bloodstream, it can easily reach the cancer cells and thus kill it before it starts to grow in number. Chemotherapy is commonly placed directly on the organ, spinal column or body cavity of the patient for better and more efficient results.

Bone Marrow Transplant

At times, chemotherapy is paired with stem cell transplant especially if blood forming cells becomes a major cause of problem for the patient. In this process, stem cells are removed from the blood while the bone marrow of a donor remains frozen for storage. After the completion of the chemotherapy treatment, the stored stem cells are removed, thawed and then returned back to the body of the patient through the process of infusion. It is more complicated procedure but increases the chance of cure for patients who suffer from severe case of MDS syndromes.

Do’s and Don’ts to avoid MDS

  • Avoid contact with toxic substances that may get ingested or absorbed through skin accidentally.
  • In case of low RBC count, avoid climbing to high altitudes, and over exercising.
  • In case of low platelet level, avoid actions that may cause injuries.
  • Stay away from sick people if low WBC count is noted.
  • Practice good oral hygiene to avoid infection from dental origin.


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