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Differences Between MDS and Aplastic Anemia

 MDS vs Aplastic Anemia

Reading through the title alone might probably give you a bit of a worry and apprehension, especially when you get to meet words like anemia and even more so, for the term MDS, which is grave a term to many laymen, who might not know what that means. For starters, MDS is Myelodysplastic Syndrome. Both anemia and MDS are disorders in the body that affect the bone marrow and are related to blood. Let’s try to tackle the differences between both illnesses as well as fully understand how you can benefit from knowing about the information that will be shared in this article.

What is Aplastic Anemia?

It would probably be better if we started with a little introduction on how our internal body works, focusing on the blood. We all have red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. This is produced by the bone marrow. The purpose of red blood cells is to carry hemoglobin. This is a type of protein that is abundant with iron and it gives our blood the red color. Its main function is to carry oxygen to different tissues throughout our body, coming from our lungs. White blood cells, on the other hand, fight infection. The purpose of platelets is to help clot blood, which means if your platelets are not functioning properly, you will bleed to death because of spontaneous bleeding that can’t be controlled. With anemia, the individual has few red blood cells and does not have enough hemoglobin. With Aplastic anemia, on the other hand, the individual has a problem producing normal blood cells: red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. It can be that the production is too slow or that the production has stopped. Based on studies, the more common people who are affected by this illness are children and young adults.

What is MDS?

As mentioned earlier, it is the shortened, and more easy to remember, illness that is related to the bone marrow and the blood. Myelodysplastic Syndrome is almost similar to aplastic anemia, except that in the case of MDS the problem is in the bone marrow itself. The stem cells that produce these cells are defective in themselves. They do not mature properly. If this is the case, the cells that are produced are either deformed or they do not function as they should. Should they develop into mature red blood cells, white blood cells, or platelets, they do not survive or function normally. Some individuals who have been diagnosed with MDS find that it would develop into leukemia. If aplastic anemia is more on the cells, red and white, and the platelets, MDS is really all about the malfunction of the bone marrow. To some, they refer to this as the bone marrow failure disorder. Another big difference, based on the studies made, is that MDS usually affects elderly people, those who are 60 and above. Then again, this does not mean that there are no young patients. This just means that more of the patients who have MDS are older.


Aplastic anemia is an illness that does not produce enough normal blood cells, that is, red blood cells, white blood cells, and the platelets. MDS is an illness that focuses on the bone marrow that produces these cells, wherein the bone marrow does not function properly in producing the cells that would develop into mature cells with the right functions.

Aplastic anemia is usually diagnosed on patients who are young, while MDS patients are usually those who are 60 years old and above, that is, based on studies made.

Some patients who have aplastic anemia develop to MDS as they grow older.

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