January 15, 2010

Types & Symptoms of Leukemia

Posted in Category : Common Ailments


Leukemia, or cancer of the bone marrow is a very serious form of illness, as are all types of cancer. Some knowledge of the growth or formation of blood cells will go a long way into helping you understand the condition better. The blood is made up of three main components – the red blood cells that carry oxygen to the tissues located in all parts of the body, the white blood cells that are primarily concerned with fighting off any infection and viruses, and the platelets that are mainly concerned with the effectiveness of clotting of a wound in order to prevent bleeding from any injury sustained by the body. The cells are created from a set of stem cells and are regularly replaced with a newer set of cells after their short life cycle has finished. In people suffering from leukemia, the white blood cells produced are abnormal and have an increased life expectancy. The build up of these longer living blood cells will start to overpower the already existing normal red blood cells and white blood cells. Moreover, these newer blood cells are unable to perform the functions that the normal white blood cells used to perform. Leukemia is categorized into chronic or acute illnesses depending on the speed with which it develops into its more serious phase. Chronic leukemia is a slower illness where the original abnormally created white blood cells are able to carry out some of the regular white blood cells functions. As a result, only when this stops happening will the patient start to feel the full effects of the condition. In the acute version of leukemia, the abnormal white blood cells are incapable of performing the tasks accomplished by normal white blood cells – thereby causing the condition to develop very fast.


The symptoms of leukemia depend largely on the area of the body where the cells start to collect as well as the number of leukemia cells present in the body. Most individuals that suffer from the condition will not really experience any symptoms in its initial phases and are more likely to come across its existence during a routine checkup. The symptoms present when the condition is more developed include the swelling of the lymph nodes, breakdown of the immune system causing regular illness and weakness, easy bruising, loss of weight as well as joint pain. Unfortunately, like all types of cancer, while the research for a cure has been on for decades, it still appears to be the medical professional’s Holy Grail. All one can do is live in the hope that the condition will resolve itself.