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Myeloproliferative Diseases

Myeloproliferative Diseases

Myelodysplastic disorders, also known as myeloproliferative syndromes, are blood cancers in which your bone marrow makes abnormal and excessive blood cells; possibly red or white blood cells or platelets or a combination. This conditions progress slowly over time. There are several types, and in some cases the disease can progress to acute leukemia or to myelodysplastic disorders.

What are the symptoms of myeloproliferative diseases?
There may be no symptoms at first. Eventually, headaches, blurred vision, night sweats, pale skin, fatigue, shortness of breath, hypertension, easy bruising and abnormal bleeding can occur. Problems like red spots just under the skin caused by bleeding may develop. Some people will experience chest pain and other cardiovascular symptoms. Sometimes, leukemia develops.

How are myeloproliferative diseases diagnosed?
A blood test will likely be the first step, followed by a blood marrow biopsy.

What are the treatments for myeloproliferative diseases?
A stem cell transplant is suitable for some younger patients and offers the only real cure. Otherwise, treatment is aimed at managing the symptoms, such as anemia, rather than curing the disease. Having blood drawn regularly as it would be for a blood donation may control the disease. Chemotherapy, interferon and certain drug therapies may be given. A stem cell transplant is suitable for some younger patients.

What are the risk factors for myeloproliferative disease?
Smoking, a history of chemotherapy or radiation or exposure to certain industrial chemicals or heavy metals can increase your risk. Exposure to pesticides is also a risk factor. It is more likely to occur in older people.

What are some additional resources for learning about myeloproliferative diseases?
If you or your loved one is facing myeloproliferative disease, CalvertHealth has a whole range of services designed to help you so you never take this journey alone. Please talk to your CalvertHealth provider or your Nurse Navigator, or check the service pages for information about treatments, services and support groups.
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