Leukemia is known as a cancer of the blood which tends to manifest in an individual’s bone marrow or lymphatic system. White blood cells, which are primarily responsible for shielding the body against infection, are the most likely to become cancerous, though red blood cells are often impacted as well. While the specific causes of leukemia are not yet known, several types of leukemia exist and are varied depending upon the category of the blood cell that initially becomes affected. Due to variations in the types of leukemia that exist, some are more prevalent among young children, whereas other forms are more prevalent among adults. There are several classifications of leukemia. The most commonly referred to as acute and chronic: Acute leukemia occurs when less than fully developed blood cells are attacked and cannot perform their duties as normal. This form is the most severe, as it progresses quickly and requires immediate treatment. Chronic leukemia attacks the more developed blood cells, which leaves them able to perform somewhat normally. Chronic leukemia progresses much more slowly. Fortunately, with early detection, successful treatment of leukemia is indeed possible.
As leukemia attacks the white blood cells, this can leave the body’s immune system incapable of fighting off illnesses and infections resulting from incoming bacteria and viruses. Due to this, frequent infections and a weakened immune system in which an individual can’t seem to fully recover are common. Be aware that normal flu-like symptoms should dissipate within one to two weeks, however, if one feels unable to shake certain symptoms such as fever, chills, overall weakness, fatigue and night sweats for an extended amount of time, this can be an early warning sign of leukemia.
Anemia is usually brought on due to an iron deficiency, however, it can also occur as a result of the over-growth of leukemic blood cells, leaving little room for red blood cells to exist. A drop in red blood cells can result in anemic symptoms such as fatigue, bruising, excessive bleeding from cuts, nosebleeds or menstruation, shortness of breath and pale skin. Anemia is a very common symptom of leukemia, which is why anyone is experiencing these symptoms, particularly if they appear suddenly, should take them very seriously.