What is leukemia?

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Leukemia is a medical condition wherein there is abnormal growth and development of white blood cells. When a person is diagnosed to have leukemia, he/she will typically exhibit abnormalities in the bone marrow as well. The bone marrow is the part inside the bones wherein white blood cells are manufactured. With this part of the body undergoing abnormal development, the white blood cells produced will also experience the same fate. With leukemia, too many white blood cells are manufactured by the bone marrow and these cells do not perform what they are supposed to do. Under normal conditions, white blood cells are the body’s immune boosters and help fight against possible sickness attacks through infection. When there is leukemia, there will be numerous and abnormal white blood cells that make people sick instead of protected from disease.

Leukemia may be generally classified as acute or chronic. Acute leukemia involves patients developing sickness early on in the disease. The chronic type meanwhile presents signs and symptoms more slowly with some patients displaying them over several years. In most cases, adult people typically have the chronic leukemia type while children are usually diagnosed with the acute type. Typical symptoms of leukemia include hyperthermia, headaches, body pains, weakness, lethargy. Most people with leukemia are also sickly and frequently get bacterial and/or viral infections. It is also common for leukemia patients to lose weight quickly and bleed easily from cuts and wounds.

There is no known single cause for leukemia. As a type of cancer, leukemia is considered to be caused by a variety of conditions that predisposes people to get it. Some blame genetics while others may get the disease due to exposure to excess radiation or toxic chemicals. Treatment will also depend on the severity of the condition. Mild cases will only warrant medication while others are prescribed with radiation therapy or transplant of bone marrow.

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