What is Myelodysplastic Syndrome?
Myelodysplastic syndrome is identified in people aged above sixty. This is a condition where there is a low count of white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets. There are also abnormal granules that are seen in the cells, with an abnormal nuclear size and shape. The chromosomal abnormalities include abnormal chromosome number and chromosomal translocations. Myelodysplastic syndromes may result in leukemia (Cancer) known as acute myelogenous leukemia.
Deaths occurring due to cancer are quite rare in this condition. Most deaths occur due to either infections or bleedings.
To describe Myelodysplastic syndromes in more lay man terms, it is a condition where the bone marrow does not do its designated job. The basic function of the bone marrow is to produce healthy blood cells. The cells produced by bone marrow affected by Myelodysplastic syndrome are not properly matured. What is the bone marrow? The bone marrow is a spongy tissue inside the bones, which are responsible for the function mentioned above.
Function of Bone Marrow and other blood cells?
Bone marrow is basically responsible for producing white blood cells, red blood cells and blood platelets. The red blood cells is responsible for carrying oxygen and other different other materials to all tissues in the body. The white blood cells generally only fight infection. The duty of the platelets is to make the blood clot. Bone marrow cells called blasts are produced by the bone marrow. These blasts further develop in to different type of other cells that have other specific jobs inside the body.
Signs of Myelodysplastic Syndrome
Some of the noticeable signs of Myelodysplastic syndrome are;
Anemia – this is characterized by chronic tiredness, in-explicable chest pains, shortness of breath and an un-nerving chillness in the body.
Neutropenia – Characterized by an increased susceptibility to infections. This is due to the low count of white blood cells.
There is also the chance that the person affected by the Myelodysplastic syndrome suffers from continuous bleedings. This condition is known as Thrombocytopenia. This occurs due to the low count of the blood platelets.
What causes Myelodysplastic Syndrome?
Studies have not been able to pin point the cause of the problem; however, most theories relate the disease to therapy with radiations and is also caused by certain drugs that are taken to treat other conditions. Other studies point the development of the problem due to mutations in the multi potent stem cells of the bone marrow. It has also known to develop with out any specific cause in humans.
How is Myelodysplastic Syndrome diagnosed?
The doctor may recommend a specific test that is used for counting the number of blood cells of each kind. They get a count of the white blood cells, the red blood cells and the blood platelets.
Only an experienced hematopathologist can tell you your condition after an examination of your bone marrow. This is generally known as a biopsy of the bone marrow. Studies like the chromosomal studies can also identify the problem.
Myelodysplastic Syndrome Treatment
There is no cure for Myelodysplastic Syndrome. But hope need not be lost as all the treatments are available for suppressing all the symptoms that are cropping up due to the syndrome. Known treatments for Myelodysplastic Syndrome are: blood transfusions, chemotherapy, antibiotics, and transplantation of the stem cell.