January 14, 2010
Leukemia- An Insight
Leukemia is the kind of disease which, when diagnose in early stage can be treated easily and successfully without much difficulty but when it get diagnosed in 3rd or further stage it is very difficult save the patient. This rule is applied in case of any blood cancer and diseases.
What is leukemia?
In novice terms it’s “Too many WBC (white blood cells) in the body”.
In blood there are three kinds of cells:-
1. Red Blood Cells (RBC) – which carries oxygen from heart to other parts of body?
2. White Blood Cells (WBC) – they are also called as leukocytes. They are part of body’s immune system. There role is to fight the invaders like viruses, bacteria like the soldiers.
3. Platelets – these are the cells which help in blood coloring at times of injuries.
Another pert of blood is plasma, it is 80% of blood constituent and it’s the factor that makes blood a fluid quantity. These cells are produced in bone marrow which is present inside the bone cavities. When bone marrow gets affected, it starts producing cells in large quantity and that too are abnormal. This makes the person susceptible to infections. Leukemia is of two types acute and chronic, of which acute is the dangerous one. Examples are acute lymphocytic leukemia, chronic myelogenous leukemia, chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Chronic leukemia can be there for months or years without knowing it.
Symptoms - There are various symptoms of the disease but they collectively indicate the disorder not individually. Some of the symptoms are tiredness, paleness of face, infection (repeated), bruising even without falling (indicate less platelet count), fever, sweat, weight loss, bleeding from gums, enlarged lymph glands, etc.
Causes – causes of his disease are not very clear because of hereditary effect and retroviruses.
Diagnoses - This get diagnosed by chance when a blood test is performed for any other reason but bone marrow test is the actual test to diagnose it. A test known as chromosome test is carried out to classify the type of Leukemia.
Treatment – Generally it involves intensive chemotherapy. Drugs are injected into veins; fludarabine is used in the last stage disease. In case of bone marrow failure steroid treatment is used. Chemotherapy drugs are very strong and have adverse effect on other body parts, they also destroy the healthy bone marrow as they can’t differentiate between a good and bad one. Milder cases can be cured by blood transfusion. Also bone marrow transplant is the option but it’s very expensive, and is out of reach for a common man.