What are the symptoms of Leukemia?

By  , Expert Content
Nov 28, 2011

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symptoms of Leukemia

The leukemia cells like the healthy blood cells go to all parts of the body with blood. The symptoms vary based on the number of abnormal cells and the place where the cells collect or gather.

Common Leukemia Symptoms: Some symptoms which may occur in people with acute leukemia include:

  • Fever (low or moderate grade) or sweating at night.
  • Frequent infections: Although the number of white blood cells in leukemia is high, these white blood cells are immature and don't function well to fight infection. Therefore, children with leukemia may have frequent viral or bacterial infections.
  • Feeling weak or tired.
  • Unexplained or unintended weight loss.
  • Headaches: If the brain is infiltrated with cancer cells, it may cause headaches, vomiting, confusion, loss of muscle control or seizures.
  • Pain in the bones or joints: It is a common symptom of leukemia and is caused due to the overcrowding of bone marrow with leukemic cells.
  • Swelling, discomfort or pain in the abdomen: it is caused due to enlargement of spleen and other organs like liver and kidney (as cancer cells may collect in them). Pain in the abdomen may also cause loss of appetite and weight.
  • Swollen lymph nodes: The leukemia cells may collect in the lymph nodes (present on the skin under the arms, in the groin, chest and neck) and cause them to swell.  
  • Bleeding and bruising easily (such as bleeding from gums, purplish patches in the skin or tiny red spots under the skin):  these are caused due to decrease in platelet counts (the cells that help to form blood clot).

These symptoms do not mean that you have leukemia. Many other problems such as infection can also cause these symptoms. If you have any symptom, which is bothersome or suggestive of serious medical problem, consult a doctor as soon as possible. Your doctor can diagnose the cause and thereby, treat the problem.

Chronic Leukemia Symptoms:
Many people with chronic leukemia in the initial stages may not have symptoms. The disease may be diagnosed during a routine blood test. As the disease progresses, you may develop symptoms gradually, which are generally mild at first and progress gradually.

Acute Symptoms of Leukemia: Some people with acute leukemia may develop symptoms, which appear and progress quickly. They may visit the doctor because they feel sick. Acute symptoms of leukemia may include:

  • Vomiting.
  • Confusion.
  • Headaches.
  • Loss of muscle control.
  • Seizures.
  • Sores in the eyes or skin.
  • Painful abdomen.




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