Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia
The cancer of the blood and the bone marrow which affects the spongy tissue inside the bones is called the leukemia. The site of production of blood cells is the bone marrow.
The leukemia is termed chronic leukemia as it spreads very slowly unlike the acute type. The name chronic lymphocytic leukemia comes from the fact that this type affects the lymphocytes which are a group of blood cells which fight against infection.
The damage to the DNA causes the chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Research still goes on to find what causes the chronic lymphocytic leukemia.
Some studies say that this disease may be a result of the chromosome deletions which involves the loss of a part of the 23 chromosomes which make up the human cell. It is proved that people with CLL have an extra chromosome.
Family history may also be a cause of chronic lymphocytic leukemia. But in majority of the cases it is found that this disease is nothing to do with the heredity link.
The risk factors of chronic lymphocytic leukemia are very few and specific unlike other types of cancer or leukemia. According to studies it is evident that the exposure to few herbicides and certain insecticides used in farming purpose hype the risk of developing the disease.
Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia Symptoms
The initial stage of chronic lymphocytic leukemia may not cause any symptoms. However if any specific chronic lymphocytic leukemia symptoms caused also they are often mistaken to be the due to other illness or less serious problems initially for example:
- Loss of weight
- Poor or Loss of appetite
- Tiredness, Lethargy and fatigue, especially during exercise
- Night sweats
If left untreated the chronic lymphocytic leukemia may cause some specific symptoms in its advanced stage. The symptoms and the extent of problem depend on which cells the disease has affected.
If the Red blood cells are affected then it may result anemia which is the shortage of red blood cells which carry oxygen the lungs to all parts of the body. This may cause shortness of breath, fatigue, pale skin and other problems.
The white blood cells are responsible for fighting any infection, so if these are affected than the overall immune system is weakened which leads to frequent infections damaging the defense mechanism. The normal functionality of the white blood cells is lost.
The Blood platelets are responsible to prevent and control bleeding. This process is blood clotting which is prompted by these cells. So obviously the shortage of these blood platelets results in lack of blood clothing which is the common chronic lymphocytic leukemia symptom.
Even a small bruise or cut may lead to heavy uncontrollable bleeding. Also frequent or severe nosebleeds, bleeding from the gums, or tiny red marks caused by bleeding into the skin are caused. Also internal bleeding may occur in advance cases.
Pain is a common chronic lymphocytic leukemia symptom which may occur in the bones, joints as well. Swelling in the liver and spleen which is predictable only through few tests and also enlargement of the lymph nodes in the neck, underarm, stomach or groin are other chronic lymphocytic leukemia symptoms.