Leukemia is known as a group of different cancers of the blood cells, and can be either acute or chronic. Most blood cells the body produces come from the bone marrow, and in leukemia, one of these new blood cells mutates and becomes cancerous and begins to progress. Adults from age 70 and above have an increased risk of leukemia, and there is actually no single sign or symptom, as the symptoms depend on the sub-type. The sub-types are defined by the kind of blood cells that mutate and how early the mutation takes place in the cell. However, there are some overlapping symptoms that show, but they may not be clear. Below are some of them.
A common symptom of leukemia is fatigue, which is same for every other illnesses. It is actually normal to feel all worn out due to everyday strenuous activities, but once it’s becoming too frequent even with little or no work, it may be due to an underlying condition like leukemia. If there’s a noticeable change from how you used to feel, especially when tired, you should see your physician.
2. Infections or fevers
The blood cells help to fight off infection, as they play a very important role in the immune system. Unhealthy blood cells will mean an impairment in how they function, and this may cause you to be sick more frequently.
3. Slow healing
When you get a cut, healing might be a bit difficult if you have leukemia. If you ever notice a change in how you bleed from cuts, and see that there’s a clear difference compared to how it used to be on your skin, it could be a sign of leukemia. You may also notice small red dots that is petechiae on the skin, especially in your lower limbs, which results from leukemia.
4. Pale skin
New blood cells damaged by cancer can overtake the bone marrow when there is leukemia, which makes it difficult for the bone marrow to grow healthy cells. Fewer cells may cause you to develop anemia, which can make your skin look pale and your hands really cold.
If you notice any of these symptoms and you can’t link it to any illness at all, ensure you see your doctor to know what step to take next.
Image courtesy of: health.clevelandclinic.org.