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Last Updated: Nov 07, 2019
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Leukemia - Symptom, Treatment And Causes

What is Leukemia? What are the types of leukemia? What are the signs and symptoms of leukemia? What causes leukemia? What is treatment for leukemia? What are the side effects of leukemia? How to prevent leukemia? What is ayurvedic treatment for leukemia?

What is Leukemia?

Blood cell cancer is also called leukemia. Blood cells have broad categories and include, WBCs (white blood cells), platelets and RBCs (red blood cells). Leukemia generally implies white blood cell cancer. WBCs are essential components of the immune system. They defend the body from invading viruses, fungi and bacteria in addition to foreign substances and abnormal cells.

When affected with leukemia, the WBCs become abnormal in their functioning. They rapidly divide and over grow the normal cells. WBCs are generally formed in the marrow of the bones, but few WBC types are even produced in the spleen, thymus gland and lymph nodes. Once they have been created, WBCs travel throughout the body in the lymph and blood, having a greater concentration in the spleen and lymph nodes.

The leukemia onset may be chronic or acute in nature. The cancerous cell rapidly multiply in acute type of leukemia. The disease gradually progresses in case of chronic leukemia and the initial symptoms might be quite mild. The cell’s type can also be the basis of classification for leukemia. Leukemia having myeloid cells or myelogenous leukemia is very severe. Monocytes or granulocytes are formed from immature cells or myeloid cells. Lymphocytic leukemia involves lymphocytes.

What are the types of leukemia?

  • Acute myelogenous leukemia (AML): It is the most common type of leukemia which occurs in adults.
  • Acute lymphocytic leukemia: This type of leukemia can occur both in children and adults but it is more common in children.
  • Chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML): Adults are usually affected by this type of leukemia. If a person is suffering from the CML, then he/she might not show any symptoms for several months or years before entering a phase wherein the cancerous cells start multiplying quickly.
  • Chronic lymphocytic leukemia: In this type of leukemia, a person might not feel any signs for several years of his life. It mostly occurs in adults.
  • Other types: Other rare types of leukemia that exist are myeloproliferative disorders, myelodysplastic syndromes and hairy cell leukemia.

What are the signs and symptoms of leukemia?

Signs and symptoms of leukemia:

When there is cancer in the blood-forming tissues of the body including the lymphatic system and bone marrow, it is termed as leukemia. There exist various types of leukemia out of which some are more common in children than in adults.

White blood cells are extremely important for fighting against infections. As per the needs of the body, the white blood cells grow and divide. However, if abnormal production of white blood cells occurs, then the person suffers from leukemia for which the treatment can be complex.

Based on the type of leukemia the symptoms may vary. Some of the common signs and symptoms of leukemia are:

  • Fatigue or weakness
  • Weight loss
  • Infections
  • Fever or chills.
  • Pain or tenderness in the bones
  • Tiny visible spots on the skin
  • Enlargement of liver or spleen along with swollen lymph nodes.
  • Excessive bleeding from the nose or bruising.

What causes leukemia?

Scientists have not been able to diagnose the exact cause of leukemia until now. A person might suffer from this condition because of environmental and genetic factors. For example, if a person is exposed to certain chemicals like benzene, found in gasoline then he/she might suffer from leukemia. Similarly, those who smoke are more likely to have leukemia. If a person has a family history of leukemia, then the risk is also increased.

What is treatment for leukemia?

The treatment for the patient is determined based on the type of leukemia, overall health, and age of the person. The extent of the spread of cancer cells to other parts of the body is also taken into consideration. Some of the common treatments which can be given to fight leukemia are given below:

  • Biological therapy: This therapy works by making use of treatments that assist the immune system in recognizing and attacking the cells of leukemia.
  • Chemotherapy: This is one of the most common forms of treatment for a person suffering from cancer. In this treatment chemicals are used for destroying the cancerous cells.
  • Stem cell transplant: In this procedure, the bone marrow of the patient is replaced with the healthy bone marrow.
  • Radiation therapy: In this therapy, beams of high-energy or x-ray is used for damaging the cells of leukemia and restrict their growth.
  • Targeted therapy: In this type of therapy, drugs are used for attacking specific cancer cells.

What are the side effects of leukemia?

Taking treatment for leukemia also causes side effects which may be seen in the patient during the course of medication or in the later stage. Common side effects are:

  • There may be complete hair loss
  • The person might have a sore mouth
  • There can be a change in the taste of mouth
  • The person also has a risk of all sorts of bleeding as well as bruising.
  • The patient might have tiredness.
  • There is a possibility of infection.

How to prevent leukemia?

The risk of developing leukemia can be reduced by doing the following things:

  • If you are a smoker, then quit smoking. This is the best way to reduce the chance of occurrence of leukemia.
  • If a person is obese or overweight, then there is a chance that he/she might suffer from leukemia. Thus, maintaining a healthy body weight can prevent leukemia.
  • A person should avoid coming in contact with formaldehyde and benzene. If a person has long-term exposure to these chemicals, then the chances of development of leukemia increases.

What is ayurvedic treatment for leukemia?

According to Ayurveda, leukemia occurs because of three types of doshas Kaphas, Vata, and Pitta. The major role of ayurvedic treatment is to treat these doshas. The treatment offered by Ayurveda aims to detoxify the entire body with the help of diet and herbs.

The herbs are used for the efficient circulation of blood and cleansing action. They also eliminate the toxins from the body and improves overall immunity. Some of the herbal remedies which can be used for the treatment of leukemia are Tulsi capsules, Ashwagandha capsules, Curcumin capsules and Guggul capsules.

Popular Questions & Answers

Hi Sir/Madam, I'm diagnosed as cml I'm on treatment with tab imatinib 400 mg. Now my WBC count is normal, how many years can I live, can I marry a girl & lead a happy life. Please suggest to me.

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We need to identify what is the cause It could be secondary to allergic disease like asthma and due to work infestations Deworming, treatment of filariasis and if not improving steroids help.

I have a brain TB sir I have lost my left eye I use medicines from past 1 year but take a 3 months gap then now I use medicines. I have a doubt which medicines and how long I use please tell me sir.

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Extended uninterrupted treatment for brain TB is recommended. We need to know the complete drug history and present status of brain TB along with time of interruption to decide further course of Anti tubercular treatment.

My mother was diagnosed for CLL after lot of tests including PET scan 5 months ago and the doctor said it is in first stage and needs no urgent treatment. Whether the treatment can be postponed for this?

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CLL is slow growing disease. There is option of only observation in this patients. But you need to do regular follow up. There are some conditions in CLL when we can start chemo. Please consult me privately for more details.
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