Senin, 09 Januari 2012

Leukemia Causes and Risk Factors

Leukemia is a disease that is considered to be life-threatening. It requires prompt intervention when discovered, in order to maximize the chances of recovering through specific treatment and therapy. Leukemia is basically a type of cancer of the bone marrow and blood, caused by inappropriate cellular activity. The disease can be of different forms, according to the types of blood cells that cause its development. Also, if leukemia is developing rapidly, it is called acute leukemia, while if the disease is developing slowly, it is referred to as chronic leukemia.

The direct leukemia causes are still unknown. In present, medical science isn’t able to establish the specific leukemia causes. However, a strong connection between certain genetic factors and the development of the disease has been revealed. Leukemia occurs on the background of genetic failure that causes the excessive production of incomplete, partially matured blood cells. Also, leukemia has a hereditary character, allowing the transmission of genetic predispositions to disease from one generation to another. Although many factors are known to contribute to the development of leukemia, they alone can’t be considered leukemia causes.

Basic types of leukemia:
1. Chronic lymphocytic leukemia: It is responsible for about 7,000 new cases of leukemia each year. People diagnosed with the disease are usually over the age 55, and chronic lymphocytic leukemia almost never affects children.
2. Chronic myeloid leukemia: It is responsible for about 4,400 new cases each year. Adults are most often diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia.
3. Acute lymphocytic leukemia: It is responsible for about 3,800 new cases each year. Acute lymphocytic leukemia is the most common type of leukemia in young children, but it can also affect adults.

Promyelocytic Leukemia
Promyelocytic Leukemia a growth of the bone marrow in which there is a deficit of mature blood cells in the myeloid line of cells and a surplus of immature cells called promyelocytes. Promyelocytic leukemia is due to a translocation between chromosomes 15 and 17 which is symbolized t(15;17). This translocation is not a mere indicator of promyelocytic leukemia but the main cause. Promyelocytic leukemia generally comes under the acute form leukemia. It is also termed as acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL).
In 1957, promyelocytic leukemia was first accepted as an individual disease entity. It accounts for 5-10% of cases of acute myeloid leukemia (AML). The peak incidence of promyelocytic leukemia is amongst young adults. Promyelocytic leukemia is thought of as a type of AML and is classified as the M3 variant of AML.

Leukemia Symptoms
Leukemia symptoms may vary depending on the type of leukemia. Some of the most common symptoms are:
- pale skin
- tiredness
- mild fever
- bruises
- shortness of breath
- thrombocytopenia
- petechiae
- bone pain
- enlarged spleen
- enlarged liver
- enlarged lymph nodes
- headache
- vomiting
- recurring infections
- Some of these leukemia symptoms also mimic those of less severe illnesses but it is always best to be checked by your doctor to determine the cause of symptoms.

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