Does Myelodysplastic Syndrome Cause Joint Pain & Shortness Of Breath?

Blood is an important connective tissue of the body. Important functions such as oxygen carrier, immunity, temperature regulation, and nutrient supplier are performed by blood. Myelodysplastic Syndrome is the condition in which the blood cells do not mature causing serious symptoms.

Does Myelodysplastic Syndrome Cause Joint Pain ?

Does Myelodysplastic Syndrome Cause Joint Pain & Shortness Of Breath?

The joint pain and shortness of breath are one of the common symptoms presented in Myelodysplastic Syndrome. This can be explained through the pathophysiology of the disease which affects the level of RBC or hemoglobin in the blood and the disease also significantly affects the bones. Myelodysplastic Syndrome is a condition with immature blood cells. These blood cells include RBC, WBC, and platelets. RBCs are the cells containing hemoglobin which is the oxygen carrier. Due to the low level of RBC and hemoglobin, the oxygen supply is reduced and the person feels shortness of breath. The bone and joint pain are other common symptoms of Myelodysplastic Syndrome as the cancerous cells get crowded in the bone marrow leading to pain. (1)

Myelodysplastic Syndrome is the type of blood cancer in which the immature blood cells fails to progress into the mature cells. At the early stage of the disease, there are no specific symptoms related to this syndrome. Early stage diagnosis is done when the patient visits the doctor for any other disorder and this particular disorder is found during a routine blood test. The symptoms began to develop as the condition progresses and the patient may have one or more of the symptoms of myelodysplastic syndrome.

Following are the various symptoms experienced by the patient suffering from myelodysplastic syndrome-

Anemia– Anemia is the condition characterized by a low level of hemoglobin in the blood. Anemia in myelodysplastic syndrome is not associated with the reduced level of iron rather the condition is caused due to increased concentration of immature blood cells incapable of carrying the hemoglobin resulting in anemia. Low level of RBC is found during the routine blood test. Thus, the symptoms experienced by the patient in anemic condition are fatigue, shortness of breath, sensitivity to cold, and occasional chest pain.

Increased Risk Of Infection– Myelodysplastic Syndrome is also associated with a reduced level of white blood cells. The neutrophil concentration in the blood is significantly reduced. These are the cells which are associated with the immune system of the body. As Myelodysplastic Syndrome reduces the activity of the immune system, the patient suffering from this condition is more to infection.

Thrombocytopenia– As all the cells of the blood are affected by Myelodysplastic Syndrome, the condition also results in thrombocytopenia. This is the condition characterized by the reduced level of platelets in the blood. Platelets are the cells involved in the blood coagulation thus managed bleeding; thus, the ability of the blood to coagulate decreases resulting in an increased risk of bleeding. Further, the patient suffering from Myelodysplastic Syndrome also has increased bruising. Sometimes there may be subcutaneous bleeding leading to purpura or petechiae. (1)

Splenomegaly– Although rare, the patient suffering from Myelodysplastic Syndrome may experience splenomegaly, hepatomegaly or lymphadenopathy.

Joint Pain– Myelodysplastic Syndrome is a condition associated with bone marrow. Due to the overcrowding of the bone marrow with cancerous cells, the patient may experience joint pain.

Autoimmune Disorders– In many people suffering from Myelodysplastic Syndrome, autoimmune disorders have been detected. The most common autoimmune disorders were psoriasis, polymyalgia rheumatica, pernicious anemia, rheumatoid arthritis, and rheumatic heart disease.

Cutaneous Symptoms– The symptoms of skin are not a common phenomenon in patients with Myelodysplastic Syndrome however in some patient two disorders are present i.e. sweet syndrome also known as acute febrile neutrophilic dermatosis and myeloid sarcoma also known as granulocytic sarcoma or chloroma.

Conclusion

Joint pain and shortness of breath are the common symptoms of Myelodysplastic Syndrome. Bone marrow is affected causing joint and bone pain while the reduction in RBC and hemoglobin leads to shortness of breath.

References-

  1. https://touchoncology.com/the-treatment-of-multiple-myeloma-and-myelodysplastic-syndromes-with-immunomodulatory-agents/

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