What is Leukemia

What is Leukemia?

Leukemia is a form of cancer that starts from the blood. It is basically the cancer of blood forming tissues in our body consisting of bone marrow and lymphatic system. The blood forming tissues and cells has different jobs to do in our body. Stem cells develop in red blood cells and platelets. Platelets are responsible for destroying the bacteria and help our body to fight against infections but if the blood vessels are damaged, the platelets starts forming blood clots in order to stop the vessels from bleeding. Red blood cells are responsible for carrying oxygen to all the tissues of the body.

The lymphatic system is responsible for developing the lymphocytes which are a type of white blood cells. These are figures that produce antibodies to fight against infections. Leukemia develops in a body where blood stem cells in the bone marrow start to change and cannot behave or grow normally. The abnormal stem cells are called leukemia cells and with the passage of time, the leukemia cells stop the normal cells to function properly.

Types of Leukemia

There are different types of leukemia which are categorized according to development of leukemia caused by a certain type of cell. In addition, types of leukemia further grouped into the categories based on the timeframe in which leukemia grows. However, there are four main types of Leukemia;

  1. Acute Myelogenous Leukemia
  2. Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia
  3. Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia
  4. Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia

Signs and Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of Leukemia may occur in patients due to other health conditions as well. So, it is important that one should consult the doctor or specialist in order to confirm the specific health condition by discussing symptoms in detail. Signs and symptoms of acute and chronic leukemia are altered to some extent. Signs and symptoms of leukemia vary according to the type of disease.

Chronic leukemia shows up no symptoms or very few signs that it becomes difficult for the patient or doctor to diagnose the disease. Signs and symptoms of chronic leukemia develop very slowly and patients are mostly unaware of the disease until the diagnosis on a blood test.

Patients usually feel nothing other than undefined illness. While acute leukemia which grows faster than chronic leukemia shows up symptoms like flu and fever but the disease attacks in days after showing flu-like signs. Commonly, patients of leukemia experience signs and symptoms including:

  • Fatigue that does not go away
  • Chills or Fever
  • Flu
  • Anemia
  • Weight loss
  • Weakness
  • Paleness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lungs infections
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Cold sores
  • Gums infection
  • Sore throat
  • Bleeding or easy bruising
  • Bleeding from nose
  • Red spots on skin
  • Pain in bones or bone tenderness
  • Vomiting
  • Headache
  • Night sweats
  • Changes in vision
  • Feeling of fullness or abdominal discomfort
  • Sores in the eyes
  • Swollen or enlarged lymph nodes
  • Swelling of the testicles