Recognizing the Myelofibrosis Syndrome

Myelofibrosis, is a bone marrow disorder that develops a serious form of leukemia. Myelofibrosis interrupts natural production of blood cells and results in severe scarring in the bone marrow.

myelofibrosis syndromeOften, myelofibrosis leads to fatigue, weakness, anemia, and also an enlarged liver and spleen.

Myelofibrosis also called as idiopathic myelofibrosis or agnogenic myeloid metaplasia. This condition usually develops after 50 years of age.

Signs of myelofibrosis Syndrome

The disease develops very slowly and in its early stages, most of you donít experience any signs and symptoms. When disruption of normal blood cells increases, signs and symptoms begin to appear. They include:

  • Fever
  • Bone pain
  • Easy bleeding
  • Pale skin
  • Frequent infections
  • Feeling tired
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Fullness and pain below your ribs on left side because of enlarged spleen
  • Enlarged liver
  • Excessive sweating while sleeping or night sweats

You should also consult your doctor if you:

  • feel tired
  • experience unconditional weight loss
  • experience night sweats
  • feel unusual fullness in your left abdomen

Causes of myelofibrosis syndrome

Blood cells produce in your bone marrow by a certain type of cell called as hematopoietic stem cell. When the genetic material in these cells changes or mutates, it causes a serious effect on blood production and finally results in deficiency of red blood cells and overabundance of white blood cells. This situation gradually leads to scarring of the bone marrow and enlarged spleen and liver.

The exact reason behind myelofibrosis is not known, but some risk factors include:

Age: Myelofibrosis is usually observed in people between 50-80 years of age. It is very rare in children, except when there is a family history.

Introduction of contrast material: People who receive X-ray contrast material like thorotrast can lead to myelofibrosis.

Exposure to toxins: Exposure to carcinogenic chemicals like toluene, benzene, and thorium dioxide and ionizing radiations can cause myelofibrosis.

Genetic mutations: Mutations in MPL gene or JAK 2 gene can result in myelofibrosis.

Complications in myelofibrosis syndrome

Complications that result from myelofibrosis include:

Pain in upper left side or shoulder: Inflammation or death of tissues in the spleen can cause myelofibrosis. Pain relievers can control the symptoms.

Infections: Usually, white blood cells help to fight against infections. But, white blood cells produced in myelofibrosis disease are not fully developed and are mutated. They are ineffective in fighting against infections.

Gout: Myelofibrosis causes over production of uric acid, which leads to needle like deposits in your joints and lead to inflammation and pain. Medications can control the production of uric acid.

Bleeding disorders: Progression of myelofibrosis can lead to decrease in platelet count. Functioning of platelets becomes highly impaired and causes easy bleeding.

Inflammation and hardening of bone tissues: These conditions lead to severe bone and joint pains and are tender to the touch.

Acute leukemia: Myelofibrosis develops acute myelogenous leukemia, which is a kind of bone marrow cancer that grows rapidly.


Posted in: Other Cancers

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  1. Robert Hed says:

    I have had myelofibrosis for about 14 years. I am 84 years old. The first indication that something was wrong was when I was told I cound not give blood anymore because of low hemoglobin.

    I found the information in this artile to be correct as it mirrors my own experience with this stem cell problem.

    Bob