Edited by estrella sacragon, Robbi, Eng, Graciela Franchesca Rosario and 2 others
Scared of the ill effects of leukemia? Get to know more about this illness today! Leukemia, also known as cancer of the blood, is the abnormal production of white blood cells or leukocytes. The DNA of the patient's white cells is damaged, and such this makes the blood cells grow and divide in a chaotic manner.
Healthy blood cells die and are subsequently replaced by new ones which are generated in the bone marrow. On the other hand, abnormal blood cells don't die easily. They tend to accumulate and occupy a larger space. As the amount of space that is occupied by the faulty blood cells increases, the space that is reserved for normal cells will continue to decrease; thus, the individual becomes ill. Simply put, these bad cells rule will eventually outnumber the good cells in the sufferer's blood.
- 1 Types of Leukemia
- 2 What is Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia
- 3 Risk Factors of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia
- 4 How to Fight Leukemia
- 5 What do Experts say about Leukemia: The Nature of Leukemia
- 6 Various Kinds of Leukemia
- 7 The Four Major Kinds of Leukemia
- 8 Symptoms of Leukemia
- 9 How to Prevent Leukemia: Healthy Foods for Healthier Blood Cells
- 10 Facts
- 11 Causes of Leukemia
- 12 Diagnosis of Leukemia
- 13 If Leukemia Gets More Difficult to Handle
- 14 Natural Treatment for Other Effects of Leukemia
- 15 Comments
Types of Leukemia
- 1ALL or acute lymphocytic leukemia. ALL is mostly found in young children, though adults can also acquire this illness, as well. Survival rate of 5 percent ranges among children and adult sufferers. The subtypes of ALL are the following: acute biphenotypic leukemia, Burkitt's leukemia, acute lymphoblastic leukemia precursor A, acute lymphoblastic leukemia precursor.Advertisement
- 2CLL or Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia, which principally affects adults over 55, and mostly men. CLL rarely affects children, but it can be present in younger adults. B cell prolymphocytic leukemia is a more aggressive form of this illness.Advertisement
- 3AML. This is also known as acute myelogenous leukemia, which is more common in adults than in children. Both males and females can acquire this illness, although studies show that it is more prevalent in males. Sufferers usually undergo chemotherapy. AML has these subtypes: acute megakaryoblastic leukemia, acute myeloblastic leukemia, and acute promyelocytic leukemia.
- 4CML or chronic myelogenous leukemia, which is prevalent in adult patients. CML's subtype is chronic monocytic leukemia.
What is Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia
Acute lymphoblastic leukemia is the type of cancer that is present in the blood and is also called acute lymphoid leukemia or acute lymphocytic leukemia. Additionally, it's likewise the least common kind of leukemia in adults. Fighting leukemia is a daunting experience and with all the things you need to learn-symptoms, prognosis, the survival rate and the treatment, learning about the whole thing is generally overwhelming.
So here are some general knowledge about this disease that you need to learn and understand for you to be able to address how you can actually fight leukemia. This is basically a type of leukemia that begins from the bone marrow's white blood cells. This is developed from cells called the lymphocytes.
Leukemia invades the system's blood and spreads throughout all the other organs of the body like the lymph nodes, the spleen or the liver. However, unlike other types of cancer, leukemia doesn't normally develop a tumor. Thus, it can quickly progress and without the proper treatment, leukemia can be fatal in just a few months.
Risk Factors of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia
In general, the cause of this type of leukemia is not known which explains why there are also no means to identify ways to prevent it. But there are some identified risk factors for leukemia, meaning, these factors can possibly increase your risk of developing acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Some of these factors include too much exposure to high levels of radiation, exposure to chemicals like benzene, a type of solvent used in refineries, cleaning products, or paint strippers.
Leukemia can cause a lot of symptoms-some are very vague and are not only specific to leukemia. Such symptoms include fatigue, fever, loss of weight and appetite, and night sweats.
Other symptoms are result of a low supply of normal blood cells because leukemia cells tend to crown out all these normal cells found in the bone marrow. When one has a shortage of red blood cells, that is when the symptoms of anemia sets in including fatigue and weakness, feeling cold, dizziness, short of breath, or light headedness.
How to Fight Leukemia
Treatment of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. The treatment of acute lymphoblastic leukemia basically depends upon different factors surrounding your diseases. You may have a single treatment, or may have more one. The most common treatment is chemotherapy wherein the use of anti cancer drug is considered.
- 1Rabbit Antibodies. Studies show that rabbit antibodies help in improving survival as well as in reducing the occurrence of relapse in patients who are suffering from leukemia and myelodysplasia and who received stem transplants from unrelated donors.
- 2Fighting Leukemia with Omacetaxine Mepesuccinate. This drug is also known as synribo and is being used for CML or chronic myelogenous leukemia in adult patients.
- 3Targeted therapy. This is a treatment where certain drugs target certain parts of the cancer cells. This type of therapy has less severe side effect than chemotherapy. Drugs used include imatinib, dasatinib, ponatinib, and nilotinib, all designed to attack cells with the Philadelphia chromosome. On the other hand, radiation therapy makes use of high energy radiation to kill all cancer cells.
Although this is not used to treat acute lymphoblastic leukemia, this can still be considered for leukemia in the bone or brain, and may even be used before a stem cell transplant. It has been noted that about nine out of ten patients experience remissions after treatments but a lot of relapse, thus lowering the overall cure rate to 40%. To avoid relapse, post-induction therapy is still essential.
What do Experts say about Leukemia: The Nature of Leukemia
Leukemia also belongs to the clan of Cancer, and it refers to the kind of Cancer that affects the blood, particularly the bone marrow, or the one that crafts the blood cells. Those people who have Leukemia are experiencing abnormal development of the blood cells, specifically the White Blood Cells or as called by the medical world, Leukocytes.
The term Leukemia originated from a certain Greek word, which is Leukos or white, as well as Aima or blood. In Leukemia, the WBC's DNA is damaged. Due to this abnormality, these blood cells abnormally grow, as well as divide. Typically, the blood cells are expected to die and then they're being replaced by the new ones, which come from the bone marrow.
However, in the case of Leukemia, the abnormal blood cells don't die, instead, they amass and then occupy a lot of space. As these abnormal blood cells occupy a large amount of space, there is a smaller amount of space for the normal cells. Eventually, the person becomes ill. To simplify things out, in Leukemia, the abnormal blood cells outdo the normal cells.
Various Kinds of Leukemia
According to the medical experts, Leukemia has a variety of types, and these are:
- 1Acute and Chronic Leukemia. The medical experts classified Leukemia into 4 huge categories, and every type of Leukemia could be Acute, whereby the illness could speedily progress, which then leads to the amassing of the useless, immature cells in the blood and marrow.
- 2Chronic Leukemia on the other hand progresses on a slower rate, yet it enables the useful and mature cells to be produced. Thus, the acute type of Leukemia could crowd out the normal cells much faster compared to Chronic Leukemia.
- 3Myelogenous and Lymphocytic. The different types of Leukemia are as well subdivided depending on the kind of the affected blood cell. If Leukemia emerged from the portion of the marrow that produces the Lymphocytes, then it is referred to as Lymphocytic Leukemia. According to medical experts, lymphocyte is a certain type of WBC (White Blood Cell), which is inside the vertebrae immune system. However, if Leukemia emerged from the portion of the marrow, which creates RBC or Red Blood Cells, as well as platelets and other kinds of WBC, then this illness is referred to as Myelogenous Leukemia.
The Four Major Kinds of Leukemia
- 1ALL or Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia
- 2Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia or CLL
- 3Acute Myelogenous Leukemia or AML
- 4CML or Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia
Symptoms of Leukemia
The medical experts also explained that Leukemia imposes a variety of symptoms and among them are:
- 1Anemia, which is caused by the low amounts of RBCs. This may cause dyspnea or difficulty in breathing, and pale color or pallor.
- 2Weakened immune system, since the WBCs are not functioning properly. Thus, patients with Leukemia could suffer from infection.
- 3Poor blood clotting, since the WBCs outdo the number of the platelets- essential factor in blood clotting mechanism.
- 4Leukemia also has other symptoms, such as fever, nausea, night sweats, chills, tiredness, as well as flu-like symptoms. In cases whereby the spleen has been affected, the sufferer may feel as if he/she is full, which will then triggers him/her to consume less. Headache may as well occur, and it's because the cancer cells have dominated the Central Nervous System.
How to Prevent Leukemia: Healthy Foods for Healthier Blood Cells
Most people are aware of the saying, "Prevention is better than cure." However, it seems there are a lot of people who ignore the essence of this saying. Nevertheless, people can do something in order to protect themselves from a variety of disease causing factors. According to medical experts, nutrition plays a very significant role in the strengthening of the body.
Many health experts say that diet is among the most powerful tools that could combat Leukemia. They reiterate the relevance of consumption of foods that are jam-packed with antioxidants. As highly cognizable, antioxidants have properties that could aid the human body in combating Cancer, like Leukemia.
Below are some of the foods that could arm people, especially those who suffered and are suffering from Leukemia. The diet regimen for those with Leukemia is quite the same with the healthy diet regimen of the general population, as explained by an excellent dietitian, Dee Sandquist, who is also the spokeswoman of the American Dietetic Association. Medical experts also emphasize that it is crucial for patients with Leukemia to adhere to the strict dietary guidelines.
Excellent nutrition is very important for those who are undergoing Leukemia treatment, since in majority of cases, they suffer from nausea, as well as decreased appetites. Nevertheless, no matter how these symptoms interfere with the purpose to consume appropriately, patients with Leukemia should do everything they can, to nourish themselves.
According to Dee Sandquist, healthy people and Leukemia patients should eat the following foods, in order for the body to be bolstered:
- 1Go for 10 vegetables and fruits per day. Vegetables and fruits are known to be jam-packed with minerals, vitamins, phytochemicals, especially antioxidants. These elements are well-capable of combating the dangerous Cancer cells. Those with Leukemia should leverage their consumption of vegetables and fruits, if they want to impede the progression of the disease. It's a luscious idea to sprinkle some berries on the whole-grain pancake or cereal, or on the ice cream top.
- 2Patients with Leukemia could as well consider eating frozen yogurt that has blackberries or peaches, or baked apples with cinnamon. Smoothies that possess strawberries are also an excellent snack. During day time, healthy people and Leukemia patients should have plenty of banana and apple.
- 3Steam the vegetables. Medical experts explained that among the healthiest methods of food preparation is steaming. Through this way, people could acquire majority of the food's nutrients. For those who think that steamed vegetables are boring, they could spice up the meal by adding stir-frying (use healthy cooking oil) various mushrooms, peppers, carrots, as well as broccoli.
- 4Consume high amounts of whole grain. Patients with Leukemia must ensure that each bite they take contains excellent nutrition, as explain by Dee Sandquist. This simply implies that 100% whole-wheat bread must be part of their dietary regimen. Instead of consuming white rice, it's better to go for brown rice. Ancient grains like quinoa, as well as whole-grain cereal are also excellent to prevent Leukemia from worsening.
- 5Prioritizing Protein. Majority of Leukemia patients undergo the tedious process of Chemotherapy, and as explained by the medical world, this could cause nausea and vomiting. Due to this fact, there are Leukemia patients who suffer from loss of appetite. Thus, patients should increase their intake of healthy protein, in order for their body to stay strong. A piece of healthily prepared chicken or fish, with very few seasoning would do.
- When the bone is functioning well, it produces red blood cells, that transports oxygen throughout the body. Produces white blood cells that fight against infection. When a virus or other pathogenic microorganism enters the body the white blood cells are automatic in defensing the body by destroying these microorganisms. And platelets that aids in the formation of blood clot.
Causes of Leukemia
- 1Genetics play a role in the formation of leukemia. If the person have genetic disorder like Fanconi anemia he may have a higher risk of having leukemia.
- 2Malfunction in the genetic structure. This illness is located in the chromosome 22, also called as Philadelphia chromosome.
- 3Family history. If the parents have leukemia it is most likely be inherited by the offsprings, because they are similar with genetic makeup.
- 4Bad lifestyle habits like smoking. Using cigarette is very bad to health not only to the bone marrow but also with the lungs well. As the lungs is the more in contact with the carcinogens of the cigarette. Carcinogens are the cause of cancer. The cigarette contains benzene, which is bad for the health.
- 5Being exposed to toxins, toxins like chemicals. These chemicals include chemical production plants, unleaded gasoline, formaldehyde etc.
- 6Exposure to radiation. This radiation can be in the form of radiation therapy, chemotherapy, etc. previous radiation therapy to treat cancer may also pose risk of having cancer in the blood. X ray, CAT scan are also a form of radiation. So get rid of them as much as possible. Radiation kills the cells. If the cells malfunction it will cause an abnormalities wherein they grow in number beyond the limit which is not supposed to be. In Japan, people near the site of the explosion of atomic bomb during the World War II have risk of having leukemia. Even low radiation accumulate, this can come from electric appliances.
- 7All cancers are due to the mutations of the genes. Leukemia is a damage in the bone marrow. If the bone marrow have disorder, production of the components of the blood will increase. Having an overcrowded white blood cells will make it hard to fight against infection. If white blood cells (also called leukocyte) is crowded it will build up in the spleen, liver and lymph nodes. And you get more infection and easily bruise, because of weakened immune system due to infection you get tired.
- 8The person have blood disorders like myelodysplastic syndromes.
- 9Has HIV infection called HTLV-1.
Diagnosis of Leukemia
- 1Since leukemia is a cancer of the blood so it will require to check the count of blood and its type. A sample of the bone marrow will also be requested. If the white blood cells are higher than normal and the platelets and red blood cells are low it indicates that he has leukemia.
- 2Tests are flow cytometry and cytogenetic analysis will be required to determine if he has leukemia. It is a test on your cell chromosome if there is a mutation that has occurred. To identify your disease profile will make the doctor specify the correct treatment for it. The physician will also check if there is enlargement of lymph nodes in the underarm or groin.
- 3Bone marrow aspiration is the test for determining leukemia.
- 4To check the type of leukemia, they will diagnose your chromosomes, unusual cells and proteins in the cells. Identifying this elements will determine if your leukemia could come back. It can also check your survival rate.
- 5Immunophenotyping that compares the cancer cell from a normal blood cell. The purpose is to find the type of leukemia.
- 6Reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction test (RT-PCR), diagnose if the genes are turned on for leukemia.
Other extending diagnoses will be:
- 1CT scan of the chest, head, belly. This is to check if your leukemia has spread out up to that area.
- 2Chest X-ray is done to check if leukemia is the cause of lung disorders like coughing of blood, frequent coughing, difficulty in breathing, chest pain.
- 3Brain's MRI to confirm symptoms of paralysis, confusion, numbness, vertigo, vision problems, or headaches. This is to check if the leukemia has spread up to the brain.
- 4Lumbar puncture to see if the abnormal leukemia cells are located in your cerebrospinal fluid.
If Leukemia Gets More Difficult to Handle
- 1Chemotherapy. A kind of medicine given different from the initial drug will be helpful. Chemotherapy is using a medicine to fight against the cancer. Chemotherapy comes in stages, those are:
- Induction. This is to destroy the leukemia cells in the bone marrow and blood. This will induce remission. In this stage, there will be no signs of leukemia.
- Consolidation. This is to destroy the leukemia cells that are not seen in the tests.
- Maintenance. This is to prevent leukemia cells from occurring again. This therapy is done by giving small doses of drugs unlike the heavy doses of induction and consolidation.
- 2Treating the spinal cord and brain will be different because there is an innate barrier in the spinal cord and brain. This barrier is automatically done by the body. The way to treat the brain and spinal cord will be intrathecal chemotherapy. This is done by injecting a drug to the spinal canal to kill the leukemia cells located there.
- 3Radiation therapy like X-ray. This is to kill cancer cells. External radiation is inducing radiation via a machine then it targets the cancer cells. Radiation therapy can be used to treat leukemia in the spinal cord and brain. This therapy is used to prepare to make bone marrow transplant. This therapy will also shrink the swollen spleen and swollen lymph nodes. #Targeted therapy, this kill the leukemia cells and prevent another cancer cells from growing. Imatinib will be effective in stopping the function of protein in the leukemia cells in chronic myelogenous leukemia.
- 4If the spleen kills the platelets and red blood cells, it must be removed, the procedure is called splenectomy.
- 5Stem cell transplant. Most stem cell transplant is allogeneic, this means they use donated stem cells. The process is to kill the leukemia cells then replace with normal cells.
- 6Donor lymphocytes infusion, this is used after stem cell transplant.
- 7Biological therapy. This is using medicines to improve the natural defense of the body against the cancer.
Natural Treatment for Other Effects of Leukemia
- 1Natural treatment for diarrhea is to drink a lot of water. Rest your stomach. If you want to take over-the-counter medicines you have to consult your physician first.
- 2Natural treatment for vomiting and nausea will be to eat meals into smaller portion. The symptoms of this is when you have a feeling of dizziness when you stand up and you experience dry mouth. You take ginger tea to treat this symptoms.
- 3Natural treatment for exhaustion. Since you get tired more when you have leukemia, and more when after therapy.
- 4Natural treatment for constipation is to have a diet rich in fiber and drink a lot of liquid. When you want to take laxative, you consult it to your doctor first.
- 5Natural treatment for troubles with sleep. Set the daily bedtime and sleep at that time always. This is establishing a body clock.
Categories : Blood Disorder & Issues
Recent edits by: Alma, Graciela Franchesca Rosario, Eng