The bulbous ends of your bones contain large quantities of a fatty substance known as the bone marrow, which is responsible for producing new blood cells. If you are suffering from leukemia, commonly known as blood cancer, one of these new blood cells mutates and becomes cancerous. The disease progresses when these cancerous cells start making copies of themselves. There are many different types of the disease, depending on the type of blood cells that mutate and the stage of blood cell development at which the mutation takes place. There is no single sign or symptom that indicates leukemia. You will have to watch out for a number of symptoms, which depend entirely on the type of the disease. You need to look out for the following symptoms that people suffering from the common types of leukemia show.
1. Pale Skin
People who suffer from leukemia have high chances of becoming anemic because when the disease progresses, it can take over the bone marrow and damage it. This makes it difficult for the body to produce new and healthy cells. When you have anemia, your skin will start appearing pale, and your hands may also feel cold more often. You should not jump to conclusions if you become anemic as it could be an indication of some other health issue too.1
2. Infection Or Fevers
Your blood cells are a very important part of your immune system and play a very important role in keeping you healthy by fighting off foreign invader that cause infections or diseases. In your blood cells are not healthy, which is the case in those suffering from leukemia, you tend to become sick more often, and you can suffer from frequent infections. If that is your case, you should not take matters into your own hands. Instead, you should visit your doctor to get a professional opinion on your health status.2
Fatigue is one of the symptoms of a variety of health issues, leukemia being one of them. If you are living a fairly sedentary life but feel exhausted most of the time, it is advisable to get yourself screened for leukemia and other types of metabolic diseases of which fatigue is a symptom. Do not jump to conclusions until you get the report of your tests and until you have had a word with your doctor.3
4. Shortness Of Breath
Along with feeling tired all the time, you may also experience shortness of breath when you are suffering from leukemia. Tasks as simple as walking up a flight of stairs can cause to pant excessively. This is because when your body does not produce enough red blood cells or if your red blood cells cannot carry enough hemoglobin, an iron-rich protein that carries oxygen, your muscles will not get enough oxygen to perform its various functions, adding stress on your lungs to draw in more oxygen.45
5. Slow Wound Healing
Your platelets play a very important role in wound healing. They usually rush to a sit of injury to prevent blood loss. They then release substances that promote tissue repair. So if your bone marrow is affected by leukemia, it will not be able to produce an appropriate amount of platelets, or it may also produce platelets that do not function as efficiently as healthy platelets do, resulting in slow wound healing.6
Other Common Symptoms
When you have leukemia, you may experience night sweat along with joint aches. You may also experience weight loss, depending on the type of leukemia you have. Nosebleeds, fever and chills, headaches, swollen tonsils, and enlarged lymph nodes are also possible symptoms of leukemia.7
|↑2||What makes people with cancer more likely to get infections?
|↑3||Signs and Symptoms of Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia. American Cancer Society.|
|↑4||Signs and Symptoms of Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia.
|↑5||Low Red Blood Cell Count (Anemia). CURESEARCH.|
|↑6||Nurden, Alan T., Paquita Nurden, Mikel Sanchez, Isabel Andia, and Eduardo Anitua. “Platelets and wound healing.” Frontiers in bioscience: a journal and virtual library 13. 2008.|
|↑7||Leukemia. American Society of Hematology.|