If you have been diagnosed with myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN), you may wonder how this condition will affect your quality of life. MPN is a group of blood disorders that cause abnormal growth of blood cells, leading to symptoms such as fatigue, pain, itching, and increased risk of blood clots or bleeding. While there is no cure for MPN, there are ways to manage the condition and improve your well-being.
Improve quality of life with MPN
In this blog post, we will share some general suggestions based on web search results on how to improve your quality of life with MPN. These suggestions are not meant to replace your doctor's advice, but to complement it and help you make informed decisions.
Seek appropriate medical care and follow your treatment plan. Some treatments, such as JAK2 inhibitors, may help reduce symptoms and improve quality of life. JAK2 inhibitors are a type of medication that block a protein called JAK2, which is involved in the abnormal growth of blood cells in MPN. By blocking JAK2, these drugs can lower the number of blood cells and ease symptoms such as fatigue, pain, itching, and spleen enlargement. However, JAK2 inhibitors are not suitable for everyone and may have side effects such as infections, anemia, or liver problems. Therefore, it is important to consult your doctor before starting or changing any treatment and follow their instructions carefully.
Monitor your blood counts and report any changes or concerns to your doctor. Keeping your blood counts within normal ranges may help prevent complications and improve your well-being. Blood counts are measurements of the number and type of blood cells in your body. They can indicate how well your bone marrow is functioning and how your MPN is progressing. Your doctor will order regular blood tests to check your blood counts and adjust your treatment accordingly. You should also keep track of your blood counts and report any changes or concerns to your doctor. For example, if you notice signs of low red blood cells (anemia), such as weakness, dizziness, or shortness of breath; low white blood cells (neutropenia), such as fever, infections, or sore throat; or low platelets (thrombocytopenia), such as bruising, bleeding, or petechiae (tiny red spots on the skin).
Manage your symptoms and side effects with the help of your health care team. For example, you may benefit from medication, counseling, exercise, nutrition, or complementary therapies to cope with fatigue, pain, itching, depression, or anxiety. Symptoms and side effects of MPN can vary from person to person and may change over time. They can affect your physical, mental, and emotional health and interfere with your daily activities and relationships. Therefore, it is important to manage them with the help of your health care team. For example:
Fatigue: Fatigue is one of the most common and debilitating symptoms of MPN. It can make you feel tired, weak, or exhausted even after resting. To cope with fatigue, you may try to:
Plan your day and prioritize your tasks.
Take short naps or breaks when needed
Ask for help from others when possible
Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco
Drink plenty of fluids and eat a balanced diet
Exercise moderately and regularly
Join a support group or talk to a counselor.
Pain: Pain can occur in different parts of the body due to MPN. It can be caused by inflammation, nerve damage, spleen enlargement, or blood clots. To cope with pain, you may try to:
Take painkillers as prescribed by your doctor
Apply heat or cold packs to the affected area
Massage or stretch the painful muscles or joints
Use relaxation techniques such as deep breathing or meditation
Distract yourself with music, reading, or hobbies.
Itching: Itching is a common symptom of MPN that can be triggered by heat, water, sweat, or stress. It can be very annoying and affect your sleep quality and mood. To cope with itching, you may try to:
Avoid hot showers or baths
Use mild soap and moisturizer
Wear loose-fitting cotton clothes
Keep your nails short and avoid scratching
Apply anti-itch creams or lotions
Take antihistamines as prescribed by your doctor