About Acute Lymphocytic Leukaemia

Acute lymphocytic leukaemia: Acute lymphocytic leukaemia is one of the four forms of leukaemia, or cancer of the white blood cells.

Himanshu Sharma
Written by: Himanshu SharmaUpdated at: Apr 30, 2012 14:48 IST
About Acute Lymphocytic Leukaemia

About Acute Lymphocytic Leukaemia

Acute lymphocytic leukaemia (ALL) is an outcome of excess white blood cell form known as lymphocytes. Acute lymphocytic leukaemia, also known as acute lymphoid leukaemia, is the most common leukaemia in children from 1 to 7 years. The malady affects blood cells and immune system with malignant growth of lymphocytes, which begins by replacement of normal cells in bone marrow.

Cancer of the bone marrow, acute lymphocytic leukaemia, progresses exponentially without treatment. Lymphocytes, also known as leukaemia cells, crowd out normal white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets within the body, disrupting body functions. Acute lymphocytic leukaemia prevents creation of healthy blood cells from being made, leading to several health ailments. Therefore, it is utmost important to begin treatment immediately after diagnosis.

Causes of Acute Lymphocytic Leukaemia

There is no obvious cause or definite reason of getting acute lymphocytic leukaemia. Several factors combine together for development of acute lymphocytic leukaemia, which include:

  1. Genetic problems.
  2. Exposure to radiations, like dental x-rays (before birth or at early age).
  3. Medical treatment such as chemotherapy.
  4. Consumption of medical drugs.
  5. Organ transplants.
  6. Exposure to toxic compounds like benzene.

Signs and Symptoms of Acute Lymphocytic Leukaemia (ALL)

Acute lymphocytic leukaemia (ALL) is characterised by normal blood cells an individual has, or extent of spread of lymphocytes. Signs and symptoms of this leukaemia form also depend on behaviour of leukaemia cells in body. Individual with acute lymphocytic leukaemia experience following symptoms:

  • Anaemia, fatigue and breath shortness due to deficit of red blood cells.
  • Fever and frequent infections as number of white blood cells becomes low.
  • Slow healing, easy bruising or bleeding and tiny red spots under the skin (petechiae) due to reduced blood platelets
  • Pain in bones or joints, lack of appetite, headache or vomiting due to excessive lymphocytes.
  • Paleness, swollen glands (lymphadenopathy) and night sweats are some of the other signs of acute lymphocytic leukaemia.

Treatment of Acute Lymphocytic Leukaemia

Treating the condition means getting blood counts back to normal. Acute lymphocytic leukaemia is a treatable condition, as procedures make bone marrow healthy and prevent cancer growing further. Leukaemia grows fast as lymphocytes outnumber white blood cells. One of the ways of treating leukaemia form is by chemotherapy.

Acute lymphocytic leukaemia may spread to the brain and spinal cord. Therefore, radiation therapy to the brain or spinal cord is another way to treat the malady.



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