Leukemia is a silent killer and is one of the most prevalent types of blood cancer in the world today. An abnormal production of white blood cells in the body causes leukemia. This could be chronic or acute.
If chronic, the symptoms appear slowly and the disease takes a long time to show up in the body, putting the patient at an enormous risk. By the time he/she realizes that something is not right in the body, the cancer cells would have spread towards vital organs and tissues. In case of acute leukemia, the symptoms are severe, drastic and sudden, making the affected individual fall seriously ill in a short period of time.
How Leukemia Cells Function In The Body
Healthy cells perform their activity for a given period of time, after which they automatically die allowing new cells to grow and multiply. In case of leukemia, the infected white blood cells, also called leukemia cells, do not die like their healthy counterparts.
They end up accumulating in the body and suffocate the nearby cells. This will interfere with the functioning of important cells like red blood cells and platelets in the body.
Causes of Leukemia
Chemotherapy, exposure to harmful substances like benzene, heredity, smoking, exposure to atomic bomb radiations, etc. are some of the possible causes that could trigger leukemia.
Five Signs of Leukemia You Must Never Ignore
Although the disease is not very easy to detect in the initial stages, the following signs could possibly indicate leukemia.
Red blood cells are responsible for carrying oxygen and nutrients to various parts of the body. An impairment or interference in their functioning would automatically decrease the efficiency at which oxygen and nutrients are supplied to different parts. In leukemia, an overload of white blood cells in a region will prevent proper functioning of red blood cells. This will invariably decrease the rates at which oxygen and nutrients are supplied to different parts of your body, making your feel weak, fatigued and breathless.
Platelets in the body have a huge role in preventing excessive bleeding. Therefore, when you get bruised or hurt, these platelets will release several substances that form a mesh like structure on the wounded area, in turn preventing rapid loss of blood. This clotting mechanism is crucial for survival. In leukemia, the functioning of platelets gets impaired. Therefore, even a small cut or bruise will lead to excessive bleeding, causing unwanted loss of blood.
Leukemia cells when left to roam freely inside the body have the ability to stimulate your brain, making it release certain substances, which it would have normally not released in a healthy individual. These substances can raise your body temperature, making you easily susceptible to frequent episodes of fever accompanied with night sweats.
Swollen Lymph Nodes
In some cases, leukemia cells have the ability to accumulate and lump together on lymph nodes, making them appear swollen and tender.
White blood cells in a healthy individual act like armed forces and defend the body from various external intrusions like harmful microorganisms. In leukemia, white blood cells are not able to function normally, leading to decreased immunity levels. This will make the affected person very weak, exposing his/her body to diverse set of diseases causing frequent illnesses and infections.