Can Myelodysplastic Syndrome Cause Kidney Failure?

Myelodysplastic syndrome is a health condition which occurs either because of disorder found in blood cells or when blood cells fail to work properly. The myelodysplastic syndrome occurs in the spongy material present inside the bones where the blood cells are formed. The treatment of this problem is directed towards minimizing the complications occurred from this disease. The initial phase of treatment includes medications but in some severe condition, doctors may also recommend chemotherapy or even transplantation of bone marrow.(3)

Can Myelodysplastic Syndrome Cause Kidney Failure?

The myelodysplastic syndrome may cause kidney failure. Reduce in the count of functional red blood cells causes anemia and other blood cells related problems. These problems have a direct impact on the kidney functions imposing high stress on the kidney. This ultimately leads to kidney failure in the long run. The only treatment option for overcoming this problem is a kidney transplant.(1) (2)

Prominent factors that can drastically increase the risk of getting myelodysplastic syndromes are:

Age. People who are older than sixty years of age are more prone to develop this problem.

Heavy Metals Exposure. People who are more exposed to heavy metals like lead or mercury are more prone to develop this problem.

Chemotherapy Or Radiation Therapy. People, who have undergone chemotherapy or radiation therapy, have a higher risk of developing myelodysplastic syndromes.

Chemicals Exposure. People who are exposed to chemicals like tobacco smoke, benzene or pesticides are also at a higher risk of developing this health problem.(3)

Some of the common complications associated with myelodysplastic syndromes are as follows:

Anemia. When the count of red blood cells reduces in the body it leads to anemia, which makes one feel exhausted and tired.

Re-occurring Infections. Having a very limited count of white blood cells raise the risk of severe infections.

Continuous Bleeding. Fall in the number of platelets count in blood stops bleeding; this can lead to continuous bleeding.

Risk Of Cancer. Although it is very rare it has been observed that people suffering from myelodysplastic syndromes may also develop blood cancer also known as leukemia.(3)

Myelodysplastic Syndrome Diagnosis

Doctors enquire about the family history of the patient, perform a physical examination and prescribe some tests to identify this blood-related problem. Tests that are prescribed to diagnose this problem include:

Blood Tests. Doctors may prescribe a series of blood tests to identify the count of red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets count. Along with the count, the test also predicts the change in the shape and size of the blood cells.

Bone Marrow Test. For performing bone marrow test or biopsy, a fine needle is used for removing a small sample of liquid bone marrow. This sample is then examined in the laboratory for further analyses for identifying the abnormality (if present).(4)

Myelodysplastic Syndrome Symptoms

It is very rare that myelodysplastic syndromes show any symptoms in the initial phase. With time, the patient will experience the following symptoms such as:

  • Breathlessness
  • Paleness in the body
  • Fatigue
  • Drop in platelet count leading to sudden bleeding
  • Prone to infection

Myelodysplastic Syndrome Treatment

As myelodysplastic syndromes are related to blood cells which cannot be replaced or a transplant, hence; no effective cure of this problem has been identified till date. The only solution is to manage the painful symptoms of continuous bleeding, fatigue, and infections.

Doctors may ask to undergo frequent blood tests to identify the condition of different blood cells in the body and accordingly prescribe medications for the same. Doctors keep a constant eye on the condition of the patient and accordingly perform the treatment to avoid any further damage in the body.

Along with the medication one also need to make some healthy lifestyle changes in their daily routine to maintain good health. The lifestyle changes are very simple like regular exercises, intake of a balanced diet, avoid alcohol or smoking and above all having a positive outlook towards life; all these help in making the body healthy.(4)

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