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Leukaemia: Early signs to watch out for

Leukaemia is one form of cancer that is formed in the body’s blood-forming tissues, especially the bone marrow or lymphatic system. There are different types of Leukaemia that occurs in humans. Some of these are common among children, while others occur only in adults. Your bone marrow produces white blood cells that help fight infections. Those with Leukaemia do not create an adequate amount of white blood cells, and thus, they do not perform their functions. There are many treatments available for Leukaemia, depending on the location and the type. One of the conventional therapies is a bone marrow transplant. Bone marrow transplant is a process in which blood stem cells are transplanted in the bone marrow for the healthy stem cells to replace the damaged cells.

Leukaemia symptoms are often not specific and will significantly vary from person to person. Many times, you might even overlook the signs as they resemble the symptoms of other common illnesses. But, you need to know some of the common symptoms of Leukaemia, so that if you ever experience one or more of these symptoms, you can get help as soon as possible. Here are some of the top Leukaemia symptoms that you need to look for –

Fatigue

There are plenty of causes for fatigue, and cancer fatigue is more dramatic. You will feel tired throughout the day, even if you are not doing any physical activity. A good night’s sleep will not do anything to improve your tiredness. Leukaemia lowers the amount of oxygen travelling through your cells and will cause weakness. It also decreases the secretion of serotonin and tryptophan that are important for the proper function of your body.  

Excessive Bleeding or Bruising

The Leukaemia cells crowd the bone marrow and prevent the production of platelets that are responsible for slowing or stopping bleeding if an injury occurs in any of the blood vessels in the body. Thus, if you notice that your bleeding does not stop within a few minutes or experience massive bruising with even a little injury, it might be a sign of Leukaemia. 

Frequent Infections

Cancerous white blood cells will not be able to fight infections in your body and cause you to develop infections quite frequently. The Leukaemia cells also crowd the bone marrow that stops the body from producing an adequate supply of white blood cells to fight off infections. Some of the common sites where you can notice infections are the mouth, bladder, skin, lungs, or around the anus. Infections occur mostly because of the damaged bone marrow which is important for the functioning of the immune system. At such instances, a bone marrow transplant is the best option to go for. 

Joint Pain

If you experience joint pain around the pelvis or the breastbone where there is a large amount of bone marrow, it might be due to Leukaemia cells. The abnormal white blood cells can crowd in these joints and cause excessive pain. You might also have a problem walking properly without any injury to explain it.  

Fever

If you have a fever from an unexplained source and it does not seem to go away, it might be a symptom of blood-related cancer such as Leukaemia. Most people with Leukaemia experience fever that is more than 101 degrees and lasts for about three weeks or more. No amount of medications will seem to help with the temperature. 

Sweating at Night

Even though you might experience night sweating for several reasons, dramatic hot flashes are often associated with Leukaemia. You might feel your clothes and the mattress soaked when you wake up in the middle of the night. Many people also experience them during the day. But, irrespective of the time, night sweats should never be taken lightly. 

Pain in the Abdomen

If you have Leukaemia, the white blood cells might collect in your spleen or liver and causes these organs to swell. You will experience a sharp pain in the abdomen due to this. You will feel uncomfortable throughout the day and notice a drop in your appetite suddenly.

Unexplained Weight Loss

If you have not been exercising to lose weight and still losing a lot of weight within a short span, Leukaemia might be the culprit behind it. Most of the time, unintended weight loss is due to chronic Leukaemia and should not be ignored.

Frequent Headaches

When the abnormal white blood cells reach the fluid in your spinal cord or brain, you will experience frequent headaches. These headaches might also be accompanied by dizziness, nausea, vomiting, or even seizures. 

If you start to develop the above symptoms, you need to speak to a doctor at the earliest and have yourself checked for Leukaemia. 

 

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