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Leukemia refers to cancer of the blood or the bone marrow. Leukemia happens due to abnormal production of the blood cells in the body. The blood cells which are produced abnormally are white blood cells in most cases. The white blood cells are also known as leukocytes.
Since there is an abnormal production of white blood cells that are immature, the bone marrow gets damaged gradually. This results in gradual decreasing of the amount of blood platelets in the body which results in blood clotting problems. Hence patients with leukemia have to be very careful that they don’t hurt or bleed themselves. Even a pin prick bleed can be fatal.
The major function of the white blood cells is to fight the pathogens in the body. If the white blood cells become dysfunctional, the body’s overall immune system becomes weak. The immune system may then start attacking other cells in the body. The amount of red blood cells also starts to decrease and gradually it can lead to anemia.
Some other symptoms
The patient may also experience some of the symptoms mentioned below.
- Fever accompanied by chills.
- Weakness in the body.
- Pain in some parts of the body.
- Excess bleeding even from a small wound or cut.
- Headache and other neurological symptoms.
- Pain in the joints.
- Pain in the bones.
- Information on aleukemia
In some patients, the number of white blood cells is not visible during the blood count. This condition is known as aleukemia. This is because the normal production of white blood cells in the bone marrow is disrupted. Also the white blood cells stay in the bone marrow instead of entering the blood stream. As a result, the white blood cells are not visible.
Leukemia can also be broadly divided into acute and chronic leukemia.
In this case there is a rapid proliferation of the white blood cells. As a result o this crowding, the bone marrow is not able to produce enough cells. This form of leukemia occurs in children as well as adults. If acute leukemia is detected, it should be treated immediately so as to stop the progress and spread of malignant cells.
In this case there is excessive build up of immature and abnormal cells. These abnormal cells are produced at a faster rate than the normal cells. As a result the number of abnormal white cells in the boy increases.