Leukemia is a type of cancer originating in the blood0forming tissues that affects the blood and the bone marrow. The body contains several categories of blood cells and these include red blood cells, platelets, and white blood cells. Each kind undertakes different functions with the white blood cells being a vital part of the immune system. They act as potent infection fighters that prevent the invasion of viruses, bacteria, fungi, and even harmful foreign substances. In leukemia, there is an abnormal function in the production of the white blood cells. The bone marrow produces white blood cells that divide quickly and begin to crowd out the other normal cells.
There are many types of leukemia. While some are more common among children, the others are reported to occur widely in adults. Individuals in the age group of over 55 years are at an increased risk of developing leukemia, but the condition can also affect children under the age group of 15 years. This cancer can be fatal but it can be controlled through treatment if detected early on. Here are the 5 symptoms of leukemia that one should be vigilant of:
- Fever and infections:
The blood cells pose to be one of the most important safe guarders of the immune system. When they are affected or unhealthy, an individual is bound to be down with infections and fevers more often. The symptom is very common, and the temperature of the fever may not hit very high but is accompanied by shivers. Despite warmer temperature in the surroundings, the patient will experience a consistent chill. Typically, this symptom may be brushed off as a normal case of infection.
- Difficulty in breathing:
The body feels sapped of energy and there is immense difficulty in breathing. When undertaking strenuous physical activities, one runs out of breath. This difficulty in breathing feels very different from that felt otherwise. This is one symptom that must be kept an eye out on and must immediately be brought to the notice of the doctor.
- Paling of the skin:
The development of leukemia can result in new blood cells overtaking the bone marrow thus hindering the growth of the healthy cells. When the body is short of the healthy blood cells, it put one at an increased risk of developing anemia. The result of the same can be seen through the paleness in the skin. Another effect associated with this symptom is always feeling cold in the hands and feet.
Fatigue is a common symptom experienced with most diseases and can also indicate leukemia. It causes one to feel extremely exhausted without justifiable reason and there is a lack of energy at all times. Undertaking the easiest tasks can be difficult due to the energy drain and there is a noticeable change in the way that one normally feels.
- Slow healing process:
Bruising easily and the slow healing process after getting injured or cut is a symptom that indicates abnormal blood cell functions in leukemia. One may also notice the appearance of small red dots on the surface of the skin. Known as petechiae, this condition stems from leukemia. The health of the skin and injuries should be attended and checked without further delay.