MDS Symptoms

What are Myelodysplastic Syndromes (MDS) Early Symptoms and Signs?

Symptoms vary from person to person and depend on which blood cells are low.

About 8 in 10 patients have anaemia, whilst about 2 in 10 present to their doctor with infections or bleeding.

  • Anaemia is due to a lack of red cells (also referred to as a low haemoglobin), which may lead to fatigue and shortness of breath even on light exertion.
  • Recurrent and persistent infections are another common symptom of MDS due to low white cell counts.
  • When your platelet count is low, you can suffer from easy bruising and bleeding. This can sometimes manifest itself as a rash on your skin. These are tiny bleedings under the skin called petechiae and often appear where clothes are tight fitted like around the ankles or waist. Nose or gum bleeds can also be a sign of a low platelet count.

Some MDS patients have no signs or symptoms, and are diagnosed by chance as a result of a routine blood test.

Most Common MDS Symptoms Before Diagnosis

Most Common MDS Symptoms Before Diagnosis

New MDS Guide (2024)

downloadable comprehensive MDS Guide for patients, families and care-givers which describes the various types of MDS, diagnosis, treatment and more. Co-written by the MDS UK Patient Support Group and Leukaemia Care, this guide is a brand new edition (April 2024).

If you'd prefer a hard copy, email us at and we'll be happy to post one out to you.

What Does My Bone Marrow Do?

MDS Foundation booklet explaining the role of the bone marrow, each type of cells and stem cells in simple language and with illustrations.

Paper copies available from our office.

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Myelodysplastic Syndromes, Part 1, by Dr Austin Kulasekararaj

Download this presentation and learn more about MDS and its symptoms.

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