What Is Myelodysplasia Disease?

Bone marrow disfunction
Bone marrow disfunction (Image: X-ray of a broken leg bone image by alma_sacra from Fotolia.com)

Myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) is a term for a collection of diseases that involves the improper function of the bone marrow. It occurs when blood cells die in the marrow, resulting in anemia and other issues surrounding the blood. In many cases, people with MDS develop a form of leukemia.

Symptoms of Myelodysplasia Disease

MDS usually occurs in people older than 60. The most common symptoms are anemia, bruising and bleeding. Most deaths result from blood loss or infection. Symptoms begin gradually, sometimes over years, but become more aggressive toward the end of life.

Diagnosis of Myelodysplasia Disease

Blood screenings and bone marrow analysis are used to determine whether someone has MDS. The condition is similar to diseases such as standard anemia or leukopenia.

Treatment of Myelodysplasia Disease

Treatments designed to encourage red blood cell growth are used in MDS. Blood transfusions and medications designed to stimulate blood cell growth and maturity may be used. There is hope that stem cell transplants will help those with MDS as it is further researched.

Prognosis For People With Myelodysplasia Disease

About one-third of the people suffering from MDS develop acute myelogenous leukemia, a very difficult cancer to treat.

Famous Ties

Scientist Carl Sagan and author Roald Dahl died from MDS.

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