Causes and Symptoms of Leukemia

The word leukemia is derived from two Greek words when combined together means white blood. Leukemia is the cancer of the blood or the bone marrow and can be classified in two types:

Acute Leukemia:

This type of leukemia occurs where DNA of immature blood is damaged. This results in the immature blood cells growing disorderly. Blood cells die all the while and are replaced by new blood cells which the bone marrow produces. However, abnormal blood cells do not die quickly and quickly crowd out the newer blood cells. It is this crowding out that makes the patient ill. Acute leukemia mostly affects children.

Acute leukemia can further be subdivided into Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL) and Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML)

Chronic Leukemia:

This is the rapid build up of mature but abnormal blood cells. Note that acute leukemia focuses on immature blood cells, chronic leukemia focuses on mature blood cells. This mostly affects older people and does not require immediate action compared to those suffering from acute leukemia.

Chronic leukemia can further be subdivided into Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia (CML) and Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL)

Symptoms of leukemia are:

1. Poor Blood clotting

The clotting of the blood will be poor. This is because the new blood cells which are essential in the clotting process are being crowded out. This will make the sufferer bruise quite easily or bleed excessively. Sufferer may develop petechiae which are pinprick bleeds.

2. Suppressed immune system.

Since the normal blood cells have been suppressed or crowded out by the abnormal blood cells, the immune system of the body will be compromised. Note that the body’s immune system is built around the normal white blood cells. The results in the sufferer becoming prone to many opportunistic infections

3. Anemia
Due to insufficient amounts of healthy blood cells in the body system, the patient will develop anemia. Symptoms of this are pale skin and difficulty with breathing.

4. Other symptoms of leukemia are nausea, fatigue, headaches or the feeling of fullness caused by an inflated spleen or liver.

If you notice any of the above symptoms of leukemia, it is advisable you seek help fast.