Low Red Blood Cell Counts
- Feel a little tired or very tired
- Feel less alert or have trouble concentrating
- Have a loss of appetite or lose weight
- Have paler-than-normal skin
- Have trouble breathing
- Have rapid heartbeat
- Have difficulty exercising or climbing stairs
Anemia is often the first symptom that a person with MDS develops. It is what usually alerts the doctor that something may be wrong. In the early stages of MDS, a person may have very mild symptoms or none at all. As red cell counts go lower, more symptoms develop.
Low White Blood Cell Counts
- Have repeated fevers and infections
- Get bladder infections that make it painful to urinate or make you urinate more often
- Get lung infections that cause coughing and difficulty breathing
- Get mouth sores
- Get sinus infections and a stuffy nose
- Get skin infections
In general, a low white cell count lowers an MDS patient’s ability to fight bacterial infections. A fever often accompanies these infections and may be a first sign that there is a problem.
Low Platelet Counts
- Bruise or bleed more easily, even from minor scrapes and bumps
- Get heavier than normal menstrual periods
- Get nose bleeds
- Get tiny, flat red spots under your skin (petechiae) caused by bleeding
- Have bleeding gums, especially after dental work or from brushing your teeth.
If platelet counts are not too low, there may be no obvious symptoms. In rare cases, the number of platelets can get so low that dangerous internal bleeding occurs.
Bleeding that will not stop is a medical emergency. An MDS patient needs to seek immediate medical help if they have bleeding that can’t be stopped by usual methods, such as applying pressure to the area.