Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS)
Myelodysplastic syndrome is a collection of hematological medical conditions which are known for the poor production of blood cells from the myeloid class. People who have myelodysplastic syndrome usually develop some type of anemia and will always require a blood transfusion, more often than regular people. The disease begins to worsen as it progresses and the individual will develop a low blood count, caused by bone marrow failure. Usually one third of patients who have myelodysplastic syndrome will develop a type of leukemia, which is why this disease was previously called preleukemia. Individuals are known to develop leukeumia within a period of months or years. All myelodysplastic syndrome is considered to be a disorder of the stem cells found within the bone marrow. Blood production within myelodysplastic syndrome is considered to be ineffective and rarely works as it is supposed to. The quality of the blood cells and the general amount begins to decline very rapidly, beyond any help.
Generally the age for diagnosis with myelodysplastic syndrome is around 60 to 75 years of age. However, there are some people who contract this condition prior to the age of 50. Having myelodysplastic syndrome tends to be rare in children and it is more likely to affect males than females. The symptoms that are associated with the condition include anemia, low platelet count, increased chances of infection, tiredness, shortness of breath, chest pain, chilled sensations, chromosomal issues, and bruising. There are other symptoms which may also occur depending on the severity of the situation. It is estimated that around 50% of the deaths associated with myelodysplastic syndrome are due to bleeding or because the individual has contracted some type of infection.
It is fairly unknown what causes people to develop myelodysplastic syndrome. Some believe that myelodysplastic syndrome is caused by exposure to radiation and benzene. For this reason, many would consider that it is a result of cancer treatment by radiation. However, it could also run throughout the genetics of the family if the individual was already predisposed by their parents. In more recent years, scientists have been able to notice the change in the DNA structure of the disease, allowing them to create medications which can be used to treat it overall. Doctors generally try to manage the condition by providing individuals with chemotherapy or stem cell transplantation. Transfusions are another option for helping to deal with the overload of iron that is present in the bloodstream, though this is usually combined with medication.