Ricker Polsdorfer, MD
Lifestyle changes may be helpful in a variety of important ways:
Most people with MDS are elderly. Their lifestyle may already have begun to be limited by various medically related conditions of advancing age. The primary problems MDS may cause are decreasing physical ability or interest in favorite activities, an increased risk of serious infections, and an increased likelihood of excess bleeding from injury.
General guidelines include the following:
With MDS, you may find your interest in your normal activities declines. Activities you used to enjoy may become a burden, tire you out, or simply not interest you anymore. Discuss your feelings openly with your friends, relatives, and doctors. There are many possible ways to rekindle your interest in life. There are also medications for
that might help. Other general recommendation that may help include:
may help you avoid other medical conditions linked to poor nutrition. Because cancer itself and some cancer treatment may have a dulling effect on your appetite, it’s important that you make the most of the calories you do take in. Strongly consider consulting a registered dietitian (RD) to help you learn more about the best kinds of foods for you to eat and how to eat other, less healthful foods in moderation. (Your doctor can refer you to an RD.) Avoid making drastic changes in your diet based on the latest fad diet.
If you have not been exercising regularly,
check with your doctor
to determine a safe
under your current circumstances. Exercise has many benefits that may help you withstand the physical and emotional stresses of MDS and its treatment:
You may consider consulting a personal trainer to help you set exercise goals and to safely follow through on initiating an exercise program.
While incorporating exercise, be sure to balance rest and activities to prevent becoming too tired.
The treatments for cancer can add to the fatigue you already feel from fighting cancer. In fact, fatigue is the most frequently experienced symptom of cancer and cancer treatments.
It is important to allow your body time to rest. This will help your body have the strength to heal itself. Studies have shown a relationship between fatigue and an increased morbidity of cancer and cancer treatments as a result of fatigue's adverse effect on appetite, diminished quality of life, and loss of hope.
To help you avoid getting overtired, try not to do too much. Prioritize the things you need to do, and focus on the most important ones. Also, allow others to help you with daily chores, shopping, and preparing meals. Plan times throughout the day when you can rest. If fatigue is affecting your quality of life, talk to your doctor.
To decrease your risk of infection, avoid exposure to bacteria and viruses:
Also, take extra care with cuts and scrapes:
Respiratory infections may worsen quickly and become pneumonia. If you have such an infection, tell your doctor right away.
Small injuries may become worse because of MDS. Spontaneous bleeding may occur from your nose, when brushing your teeth, from small wounds, rectum, vagina, or urinary tract. Report any bleeding to your doctor. Prolonged pressure on a bleeding site may eventually stop the bleeding, but you need medical treatment to prevent it from recurring.
The diagnosis of cancer is a life-defining event that is difficult to handle for anyone. It's common to feel anxious about the impact of your diagnosis and treatment options. You do not have to face cancer alone. Get help from your family, friends, and your community, such as:
People who allow themselves to seek help while they are recovering from cancer often maintain better emotional control. This can help you face the challenges of cancer and its treatment.
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General information about myelodysplastic syndromes. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: http://www.cancer.gov/types/myeloproliferative/patient/myelodysplastic-treatment-pdq. Updated August 12, 2015. Accessed December 29, 2015.
Myelodysplastic syndrome. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated November 7, 2014. Accessed December 29, 2015.
Last reviewed December 2015 by Mohei Abouzied, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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