What are the symptoms of low blood counts? | Aplastic Anemia and MDS International Foundation

What are the symptoms of low blood counts?

The symptoms of bone marrow failure diseases like aplastic anemia, MDS and PNH are caused by low blood counts. The specific symptoms depend on which type of blood cell is affected. Read the section below to see the symptoms for each type of cell.

You may have many of these symptoms or just one or two of them. And you may get a new symptom at any point in the course of your illness.

Low Red Blood Cell Count

A low red blood cell count is called anemia. If you have a low red blood cell count, you may:

  • 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 reduced ability to exercise or climb stairs.

Low White Blood Cell Count

A low white blood cell count is called neutropenia. If you have a low white blood cell count, you may:

  • Have repeated fevers and infections.
  • Get bladder infections that may make it painful to pass urine, 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.

Low Platelet Count

A low platelet count is called thrombocytopenia. If you have a low platelet count, you may:

  • Bruise or bleed more easily – even from minor scrapes and bumps.
  • Get heavy menstrual periods.
  • Get nose bleeds.
  • Get tiny, flat red spots under your skin, which are caused by bleeding. These spots are called petechiae.
  • Have bleeding gums, especially after dental work or from brushing your teeth. Check with your doctor before getting any dental work.