Leukemia is generally considered and known as blood cancer, where as if if considered in its real terms leukemia is a cancer of the white blood cells and the platelets. These platelets actually help blood to clot. Additionally when the white blood cells reduce in amount they actually leave the immune system unlocked for attack and the patient sometimes die of a very usual illness like flu. In general the deficiency of normal white cells impairs the body's ability to struggle against infections. A shortage of platelets results in bruising and easy bleeding whenever there is a need of clot to stop the flow of blood.
All kinds of various acute or chronic diseases of leukemia are dangerous. Acute leukemia being a swiftly succeeding disease affects typically cells that are embryonic or primitive (which means the cells that have not yet fully developed or differentiated from the others). These not fully formed cells thus cannot achieve their standard utility. These cells are described as "nonfunctional" because they do not work like normal cells. They also number out the usual normal healthy cells in the marrow, resulting in a decrease in the number of new healthy normal cells made in the marrow. These later results in low red cell counts which is a typical form of anemia.
On the other hand chronic leukemia develops gradually, and allows the development of larger amounts of more developed cells. In broader perspective, these more grown-up cells can achieve some of their typical functionality but due to the increase in the number of cells like white blood cells the blood flow may slow down and result in severe anemia.
The leukemia is categorized in to four basic categories which are as follows:
o Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML)
o Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL)
o Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia (CML)
o Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL)
For acute leukemia following are the signs and symptoms of leukemia:
o Fatigue or tiredness
o Shortness of breath during physical activity
o Sluggish curing of cuts and excess bleeding
o Mild fever or night sweats
o Black-and-blue spots (bruises) for no evident cause
o Pinhead-size red spots under the skin
o Pale skin
o Low white cell counts
o Aches in bones or joints
As far as chronic leukemia is concerned people with CLL or CML may not have any symptoms. Some patients learn they have CLL or CML after a blood test as part of a usual checkup. Occasionally, a person with CLL may see enlarged lymph nodes in the neck, armpit or groin and go to the doctor. The person may feel exhausted or short of breath or have frequent infections, if the CLL is more severe. In these cases, a blood test may show an increase in the lymphocyte count.
A comprehensive blood count is utilized to make a diagnosis of leukemia. This blood examination may confirm high or low point of white cells and show leukemic cells within the blood. Sometimes, number of platelet and red cell are fairly low. Bone marrow tests like aspiration and biopsy are often carried out to verify the analysis and to glance for any chromosome irregularities. All these tests spot the leukemia and its cell category. These tests must be continued after regular intervals after treatment commences to gauge how sound the healing is.