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How To Cope With Myelodysplastic Syndrome?

Myelodysplastic syndrome comes under the category of cancer. It is a disease in which, the normal blood cell producing capacity of the bone marrow is lost and so lots of abnormal cells are present in the blood of the patient.

The bone marrow of such patients make abnormal or dysplastic cells that cannot make normal and mature blood cells. The most common finding this disease is low red blood cells known as anemia.

In myelodysplastic syndrome, there production of abnormal cells and these cells are destroyed by the immune system of body. This leads to deficiency of blood cells in the body. Some patients with myelodysplastic syndrome may be diagnosed with AML (Acute Myeloid Leukemia), which is a cancer of bone marrow that grows rapidly.

How To Cope With Myelodysplastic Syndrome?

There are many ways to cope up with this disease myelodysplastic syndrome. Some of the ways to cope up with this disease are described below:

Ways To Cope Up With Social And Emotional Effects Due To Disease. Knowing that you have myelodysplastic syndrome can be difficult to take in. You may have emotional trauma and may experience sadness, anxiety, anger, etc. You must learn to deal with these emotional issues and also learn to control your stress level. For this, the patient must be encouraged to speak up and share how they feel with the family members or friends. Psychiatric help must be sought to help the patient to learn ways to cope up with mental stress.

Ways To Cope Up With Physical Effects Of Disease. The patient experiences many symptoms of the disease like breathlessness or shortness of breath, vomiting, nausea, etc. these symptoms must be dealt with the help of medical support. Proper medications must be taken to reduce these effects. As the time passes the patient will know what all medications to be taken to cope up with these symptoms.(1)

Proper Diet. If you eat healthy foods and maintain a good health, it will help you in better handling of the disease. The patient must eat lots of fruits and green vegetables. Carbohydrates are also very necessary for getting energy. Protein is another necessary ingredient that must be ingested; this will help in fighting off infections in a better way. The water intake must be high to stay hydrated. The amount caffeine in the diet must be reduced by neglecting coffee and tea. Juices are very necessary to keep you hydrated as well as provide good vitamins and minerals.

Regular Exercise. Exercising will help you a lot in faster recovery of your body. There is no theory that says that patients with myelodysplastic syndrome must limit physical workout. You can be as active as you want to be. But the only thing to be taken care of is that you must exercise properly and not get hurt if you have low levels of platelets in the blood because this will lead to easy bruising and bleeding.(2)

Chemotherapy Used In Myelodysplastic Syndrome

In chemotherapy, certain drugs are used to treat different cancers like myelodysplastic syndrome. There are two options in chemotherapy, either oral drugs or intravenous drugs that are injected in the body of patient.

Lenalidomide. This is an immunomodulating drug. This drug is helpful in low-grade myelodysplastic syndrome. Side effects of this drug are – diarrhea, constipation, weakness, fatigue and low levels of white blood cells and low levels of platelets in the blood. The major side effect of this drug is that it increases the chances of deep vein thrombosis, which is a condition where a clot is formed in the major veins of lower limbs. If this drug is taken by pregnant women, it leads to major birth defects in the babies.

Cyclosporine. This is an immune-suppressant drug. It is useful in patients who have lower risk myelodysplastic syndrome. This drug is very helpful if the patient has low stem cells in the bone marrow.

Anti-Thymocyte Globulin (ATG). In some patients with myelodysplastic syndrome, there is production of T-lymphocytes against the white blood cells. When ATG is given to such patients, these T-lymphocytes reduce and hence they do not destroy the white blood cells.

There are few more drugs used in the chemotherapy for myelodysplastic syndrome, these were only a few out of them.(3)


If you understand the disease myelodysplastic syndrome properly, it will help you to cope up with it easily. The patient is not the sole person involved in this process, the family members and friends must take part in understanding the disease and finding ways to help the patient in coping up with this disease. A positive outlook, good diet and proper exercise help a lot in improving the condition of the patient.


Also Read:

Sheetal DeCaria, M.D.
Sheetal DeCaria, M.D.
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Sheetal DeCaria, M.D. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:September 24, 2021

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