Leukemia: Symptoms and Treatments

Leukemia: Symptoms and Treatments


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Leukemia, usually associated with poor prognosis, currently benefits from advances in research, which allow choosing the best treatment option. Acute myeloid leukemia is a disease whose cases have increased and affects mainly people around 65 years old. Below, we discuss the different types of leukemia, its symptoms and types of treatment.

  • What is leukemia

  • What are white blood cells

  • Types of leukemia

    • Chronic leukemia

    • Acute leukemia

  • Causes of leukemia

  • Symptoms of leukemia

  • Diagnosis of leukemia

  • Leukemia treatment

What is leukemia

Leukemia is a form of tumor in the blood that is characterized by uncontrolled proliferation, in the marrow, of immature cells, which are unable to complete their evolution and accumulate in the body. A large proliferation of these white blood cells can affect the immune system.

What are white blood cells

White blood cells, or leukocytes, act against infections and are of great importance in the functioning of the immune system. The red blood cells ensure the correct transport of oxygen through the blood and bone interior, responsible for producing other types of blood cells.

Types of leukemia

Chronic leukemia

Chronic leukemias are characterized by the proliferation of cells present in the bone interior, in an advanced state of differentiation in blood cells. This type of leukemia evolves for years and comprises several types, such as chronic lymphocytic leukemia, which affects the blood lymphocytes, the bone interior and the lymphatic organs. Acute myeloid leukemia is the most serious form.

Acute leukemia

This type of leukemia is characterized by the proliferation of cells in a premature state with rapid evolution, making the prognosis difficult and not always positive. There are acute lymphoblastic leukemia and acute myeloblastic leukemia.

Causes of leukemia

There are still no definite causes for leukemia, but it is known that many factors can favor its onset, such as family history, genetic abnormalities (patients with Down Syndrome or Franconi’s disease) and high exposure to radiation or excessive chemotherapy.

Symptoms of leukemia

Although there are several types of leukemia, one of the symptoms that affects all cases is very tiredness, enlarged lymph nodes, fever, general malaise, weight loss, bone or joint pain, anemia, frequent infections and unusual bleeding.

Diagnosis of leukemia

The diagnosis is made through a blood test, which allows observing the number and shape of the lymphocytes, which, if they are in high numbers, are a warning sign. A melodrama, to assess the bony interior, is also useful to confirm acute leukemias.

Leukemia treatment

Treatment varies according to the type of leukemia. For acute leukemia, chemotherapy, blood transfusion in some cases, radiation therapy or bone marrow transplantation are prescribed. The healing potential varies depending on the person and their specific case. In children, the cure potential is 80%. In cases of lymphatic leukemia, treatment varies according to the evolution of the disease: in state A, only follow-up is necessary, whereas states B and C require chemotherapy. In the case of chronic myeloid leukemia, medications are prescribed and, in case of resistance, a bone marrow transplant is required.

Photo: © iunewind – Shutterstock.com

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