This article speaks of the acute myeloid leukemia symptoms. Myeloid leukemia is one of the common types of leukemia that affects both children and adults.
Leukemia is defined as the cancerous growth of white blood cells right where they are manufactured, that is the bone marrow. When blood cells are produced, they grow, divide in an orderly fashion, mature and get replaced by the new ones. However, due to certain unspecified reasons, the bone marrow somehow begins manufacturing white blood cells at a rate that is higher than normal. So what happens is, these abnormal white blood cells keep growing and eventually outnumber the normal ones in the body, thus giving rise to many complications. The abnormal white blood cells are known as leukemia cells. Now this disease may occur in different forms which are classified by experts according to the rate of progression (acute or chronic), and the type of white blood cells that get affected.
What is Acute Myeloid Leukemia?
So as I was saying, there are various types of leukemia. The acute form progresses rapidly and worsens in no time. In most cases, it requires immediate and aggressive treatment. And as far as the chronic one is concerned, it develops gradually over years. And most people do not even realize that they have it.
Another classification is based on the types of white blood cells that are affected. When lymphoid cells become cancerous, it may be known as Acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) or chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). Lymphoid cells build the lymphatic system, which in turn is a vital part of the immune system. Another group known as the myeloid cells are responsible for the production of red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. And when these cells start growing abnormally, the condition could be acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) or chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML).
So as mentioned, the condition of acute myelogenous leukemia (AML), or also known as acute myeloid leukemia (AML) progresses rapidly thus, requires immediate medical attention.
What Symptoms are Indicative of Acute Myeloid Leukemia?
The symptoms of acute myeloid leukemia may easily give an impression to the patient that he may be suffering from influenza or other common diseases. So that is why, it is important to go for a medical diagnosis and rule out the actual problem. The general signs that AML may give rise to, include:
- Fatigue and lethargy are common
- Difficulty breathing
- Frequent or recurrent infections
- Pallor (skin becoming pale or having an unnatural color)
- Nosebleeds, gum bleeding, etc., are also some signs that may indicate the development of cancer of the white blood cells.
There are certain factors which may drive the nature of the treatment. These may include the age of the patient, his overall health and his personal preferences, as well. Also, whether the disease has any subtype, is also one of the deciding factors. But generally, the treatment is divided into two phases; induction therapy, and consolidation therapy. The former method aims towards complete elimination process to wipe out the leukemic cells to an extent that they are undetectable. However, in most cases, a complete elimination does not take place. And that is why, patients might have to go for further treatment to prevent recurrence. Common example of this therapy is chemotherapy, and therapy that uses some other drugs.
The other phase is the consolidation therapy. Whatever leukemic cells that manage to escape the remission therapy, are destroyed by the consolidation therapy. This method strives to ensure that there are no chances of the disease to strike back. Stem cell transplant is employed for this particular therapy. Here, the unhealthy bone marrow is replaced by stem cells that are healthy and leukemia free.
As far as the prognosis of acute myeloid leukemia is concerned, it is a curable form of leukemia. 50 in 60% of cases achieve successful results. However, full recovery depends on well designed and dedicated treatment procedures.