What is bone marrow suppression?
The bone marrow is the spongy tissue in the centre of the bones. It is where red blood cells (RBCs), white blood cells (WBCs) and platelets are made. With bone marrow suppression, the bone marrow doesn’t make normal numbers of blood cells. It leads to lower levels of one or more types of blood cells. Bone marrow suppression is also called myelosuppression.
Common terms that you may hear that refer to blood cell reduction include the following:
This is a decrease in red blood cells.
This is a decrease in neutrophils (a specific type of white blood cell; a main defense from bacteria).
This is a decrease in platelet counts.
This is a decrease in all types of blood cells–red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets.
Symptoms of Bone Marrow Suppression
- Fatigue (extreme tiredness that doesn’t get better with rest)
- Bleeding: nose bleeds, gums, or mouth
- Cough or shortness of breath
- Increased heart rate
- Fever and chills
Managing Bone Marrow Suppression
- You should avoid strenuous activity or heavy lifting.
- Avoid raw vegetables or foods with rough surfaces in your diet.
- Eat high-protein foods.
- Avoid taking previously cut fruits and vegetables.
- Avoid contact with anyone who is ill with a contagious disease.