Myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) are a rare group of blood disorders that occur as a result of improper development of blood cells within the bone marrow. The three main types of blood cells (i.e., red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets) are affected. Red blood cells deliver oxygen to the body, white blood cells help fight infections, and platelets assist in clotting to stop blood loss.
These improperly developed blood cells fail to develop normally and enter the bloodstream. As a result, individuals with MDS have abnormally low blood cell levels (low blood counts). General symptoms associated with MDS include fatigue, dizziness, weakness, bruising and bleeding, frequent infections, and headaches. In some cases, MDS may progress to life-threatening failure of the bone marrow or develop into an acute leukemia. The exact cause of MDS is unknown. There are no certain environmental risk factors.
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