MDS Signs and Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of MDS are nonspecific and generally related to low blood counts:

  • Anemia (reduced red cell count) can manifest as chronic tiredness, shortness of breath, chilled sensation, sometimes chest pain.
  • Neutropenia (low neutrophil count) can present as increased susceptibility to infection
  • Thrombocytopenia (low platelet count) can present as increased susceptibility to bleeding and ecchymosis (bruising), as well as subcutaneous hemorrhaging resulting in purpura or petechia.

Many individuals are asymptomatic, and blood cytopenia or other problems are identified on a routine blood test. MDS can be sometimes difficult to diagnose. Several other diseases such as aplastic anemia, certain types of leukemia, HIV infection can be confused with MDS. Many people who are diagnosed with MDS go to their physicians with some or all of the symptoms typical of the condition. Other people are diagnosed with MDS when they go to their physician for a routine checkup, and mild blood-count abnormalities that have not caused any symptoms are found in their blood work.