Graft-versus-host disease (GvHD) is a condition that can occur after a stem cell or bone marrow transplant in which the transplanted cells recognize the recipient's body as foreign and attack it.
This occurs because the immune cells in the transplanted graft (the donor's cells) recognize the recipient's cells as foreign and attack them, causing tissue damage and inflammation. This can affect different organs, including the skin, liver, gastrointestinal tract, and lungs.
GvHD can be acute, occurring within the first 100 days after transplant, or chronic, occurring more than 100 days after transplant. Symptoms of acute GVHD include skin rash, diarrhea, and liver dysfunction, while symptoms of chronic GvHD can include dry eyes and mouth, skin changes, joint pain, and fatigue.
GvHD can be treated with immunosuppressive medications that help to prevent the donor's immune cells from attacking the recipient's tissues. However, in severe cases, GVHD can be life-threatening.
The first-ever GvHD Awareness Day was held on February 17th, 2023, launched at an annual meeting in Orlando, Florida and on social media.
The day can be observed by learning more about the disease, sharing information about it on social media, and generally raising awareness.
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