Some of these symptoms can also be a result of less serious conditions. But if you are concerned, see a medical specialist for a check-up. If you have leukemia, that doctor can make a diagnosis in time.
Leukemia is a term that refers to the type of cancer that affects the tissues that make up blood in the body. The white blood cells are immediately affected. Because the characteristic of this cancer is that not enough healthy white blood cells are produced. The big problem, however, is that we usually overlook the symptoms of leukemia, with the result that we do not make the correct diagnosis in time.
Blood cells are an important part of the body’s defense mechanisms. They grow and split according to the needs of the body.
But in leukemia patients, the bone marrow produces blood cells irregularly. So there is the production of white blood cells, but they fail to protect the body because they are damaged.
As the cancer progresses, complications arise in the production of other blood cells, such as the red blood cells or platelets.
During this phase, anemia and bleeding become serious. In addition, the risk of other types of infections also increases.
Most disturbingly, many people do not know the symptoms of leukemia or mistake them for something else. That makes early diagnosis difficult.
That is why we would like to give you a complete list of the ten clinical signs that you should not ignore here.
Symptoms of Leukemia
1. Purple or red spots on the skin
In the medical world this is called petechiae. They are reddish or purple spots that appear in clusters. They usually appear on the chest, back and arms.
They arise when the blood clots and can no longer flow normally. People often mistake them for a rash.
2. Bone or joint pain
There are many diseases that cause bone and joint pain. But in the case of leukemia, the pain is a result of the accumulation of damaged white blood cells.
Patients feel a sharp or dull pain. The severity of this pain varies depending on the area affected.
Headache is one of the most ignored symptoms of leukemia. This symptom is especially present in cases of acute leukemia. This form is often severe and long-lasting.
The headache occurs because blood flow to the brain and spine is restricted . This symptom is similar to what happens with migraines. But in migraines, the blood vessels contract.
4. Swollen glands
When leukemia disrupts and damages the production of white and red blood cells, it weakens the body’s ability to respond to infections.
This situation changes the inflammatory processes. This leads to swollen glands and lymph nodes, or small painless lumps that are blue or purple in color.
5. Weakness and fatigue
When you feel weak or fatigued, leukemia is not the first thing that comes to mind. But you shouldn’t take these signals lightly because they can also be symptoms of leukemia.
The drop in healthy red blood cells affects the body’s ability to carry oxygen and nutrients. As a result, anemia and chronic fatigue occur.
6. Unusual bleeding
All types of unusual and unexplained bleeding can be a clear sign of leukemia. The lower amount of platelets affects the clotting of the blood. As a result, the body becomes more sensitive to bleeding.
7. Fever and frequent infections
Any form of leukemia weakens the immune system. This system will therefore no longer be able to respond to the germs that cause infections.
As a result, leukemia patients constantly experience bouts of fever and respiratory infections such as the flu.
The main reason is that the cancerous blood cells stop the white blood cells from fighting viruses and bacteria.
8. Unexplained weight loss
This is similar to what happens with other cancers . Leukemia patients can lose an alarming amount of weight for no apparent reason.
It can also be a result of extreme fatigue and loss of appetite . Because the latter is also a symptom that these patients can suffer from.
Dyspnoea or difficulty in breathing is a result of decreased oxygen supply in the cells. This is due to the disturbance of the blood flow.
Some people find that they are unable to catch their breath . Others may feel that they are unable to breathe properly.
10. Abdominal pain or bloating
When leukemia spreads it can cause swelling in the liver or spleen. The result is recurring abdominal pain or bloating in the area just below the rib cage.
Some patients even feel a slight pain in the lower back or experience nausea, vomiting and changes in bowel function.
In recent years, the treatment of leukemia has made significant progress. But much of the success of the treatment depends on early detection of the cancer.
For that reason, you should really pay attention to all the signals that we have mentioned in this article. It is very important, even if they may be the result of a less serious problem.