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Exercise for MPN Patients: How to Stay Fit and Safe

If you have a myeloproliferative neoplasm (MPN), a type of blood cancer that affects your bone marrow and blood cells, you may wonder how exercise can affect your health and well-being. Exercise is beneficial and important for MPN patients, but it should be done safely and according to your individual condition and abilities. Here are some general tips based on web search results to help you get started.

Content guide


Before starting any exercise program

Consult with your doctor before starting any exercise program. Your doctor can advise you on the appropriate type, intensity, and duration of exercise for you, based on your blood counts, spleen size, risk of clotting or bleeding, and other factors. Your doctor may also recommend some tests or adjustments to your medication before you begin exercising.

Start slowly and gradually increase your activity level. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week, but do not overexert yourself or cause injury. Listen to your body and rest when needed. You can break up your exercise into shorter sessions throughout the day, such as 10 minutes at a time if that is easier for you.

Choose activities that you enjoy and that suit your lifestyle. You can try walking, cycling, swimming, yoga, or other low-impact exercises that can improve your cardiovascular fitness, muscle strength, flexibility, and balance. You can also do some resistance training with light weights or bands to build your bone density and prevent osteoporosis.

Monitor your symptoms and report any changes or concerns to your doctor. Exercise may help reduce fatigue, pain, itching, depression, and anxiety, but it may also cause dehydration, dizziness, shortness of breath, or chest pain. Be aware of the signs of dehydration and drink plenty of fluids before, during, and after exercise. If you experience any severe or unusual symptoms during or after exercise, stop immediately and seek medical attention.

Seek support from others who understand your condition. You can join a local or online exercise group for MPN patients or ask a friend or family member to be your exercise buddy. Having social support can help you stay motivated and accountable. You can also share your progress and challenges with others who can relate to your situation.

Exercise is a great way to improve your physical and mental health as an MPN patient, but it should be done with caution and care. Follow these tips to stay fit and safe while enjoying the benefits of exercise.

Signs to Stop exercising or seek medical help for MPN patients:

Exercise is important for everyone, but especially for people with myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs). MPNs are a group of rare blood disorders that cause the bone marrow to produce too many blood cells. This can lead to problems such as blood clots, infections, bleeding, and an enlarged spleen.

Exercise can help MPN patients improve their physical and mental health, reduce fatigue, lower blood pressure, and prevent weight gain. However, exercise also comes with some risks and challenges for MPN patients. They need to be aware of the signs that indicate they should stop exercising or seek medical help.

Some of the signs to watch out for are:

  • Chest pain, pressure or discomfort². This could indicate a heart problem or a blood clot in the lungs. These are serious complications that can be life-threatening for MPN patients. If you have chest pain or difficulty breathing while exercising, stop immediately and call 911 or your local emergency number.

  • Severe muscle burning, chills, headache, or blurred vision¹. These could be signs of dehydration, heat exhaustion or heat stroke. MPN patients are more prone to dehydration because they have thicker blood and lose more fluids through sweating. They also have a higher risk of heat-related illnesses because their body temperature regulation is impaired by their disease. To prevent dehydration and overheating, drink plenty of water before, during and after exercise, wear loose-fitting and light-colored clothing, avoid exercising in hot and humid conditions, and take frequent breaks to cool down.

  • Pain or tenderness that doesn't go away¹. This could indicate an injury, inflammation, or infection. MPN patients have a higher risk of developing infections because their immune system is weakened by their disease and some of their treatments. They also have a higher risk of bleeding and bruising because their platelets are abnormal or low. If you have pain or swelling in your muscles or joints that lasts longer than 48 hours, see your doctor for evaluation and treatment.

  • An elevated heart rate upon awakening¹. This could suggest overtraining or a heart condition. MPN patients need to monitor their heart rate closely because their disease can affect their heart function and cause arrhythmias or cardiomyopathy. If you notice that your resting heart rate is higher than usual when you wake up in the morning, you may be exercising too hard or too often. You should reduce the intensity and frequency of your exercise until your heart rate returns to normal. You should also see your doctor if you have any other symptoms of heart problems, such as palpitations, dizziness, fainting, or chest pain.

If you experience any of these symptoms, you should stop exercising immediately and consult with your doctor. You should also inform your doctor if you have any changes in your MPN symptoms, such as increased fatigue, bleeding, bruising or splenomegaly. Exercise can be beneficial for MPN patients, but it should be done safely and with the guidance of your physician.




What are some ways to prevent dehydration for MPN patient?

Dehydration is a condition that occurs when the body loses more water than it takes in. Dehydration can cause symptoms such as thirst, dry mouth, headache, fatigue, dizziness, and confusion. Dehydration can also worsen some complications of myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN), such as blood clots and high blood pressure. Therefore, it is important for MPN patients to prevent dehydration by following some simple tips:

  • Drink plenty of fluids throughout the day. Aim for at least eight glasses of water or other non-caffeinated beverages. You may need more if you sweat a lot, exercise, or have a fever.

  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine, as they can dehydrate you and interfere with your blood counts and medications.

  • Eat foods that contain water, such as fruits, vegetables, soups, and yogurt. These can help you stay hydrated and provide nutrients and fiber.

  • Monitor your urine color and frequency. Your urine should be pale yellow, and you should urinate at least four times a day. If your urine is dark or you urinate less often, you may be dehydrated and need to drink more fluids.

  • Check your weight regularly. A sudden drop in weight may indicate fluid loss and dehydration. If you lose more than two pounds in a day or five pounds in a week, contact your doctor.

  • Talk to your doctor about your fluid needs and any medications or supplements that may affect your hydration status. Some drugs or vitamins may cause you to retain or lose water, so you may need to adjust your fluid intake accordingly.

By following these tips, you can prevent dehydration and improve your quality of life as an MPN patient.

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