Acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a cancer of the bone marrow and blood, is known to affect white blood cells, which help the body fight off infections. This cancer type spreads quickly and thus gets its name, “acute lymphoblastic leukemia.”
Thus, doctors often recommend keeping an eye on acute lymphoblastic leukemia symptoms, if any, for an early diagnosis. Remember, an early diagnosis implies timely treatment and an increase in survival rates.
Here are some of the most common acute leukemia symptoms that a person should keep an eye on and consult a doctor if any of them appear. These signs and symptoms of acute lymphoblastic leukemia should not be ignored and should be checked as soon as possible.
Anemia is one of the most common acute lymphoblastic leukemia symptoms. The bone marrow fails to produce sufficient red blood cells as it gets overcrowded with leukemia cells.
Those suffering from anemia experience frequent tiredness and heart palpitations.
Frequent bleeding is one of the most common acute lymphocytic leukemia symptoms. Patients with ALL may have nosebleeds or heavy menstrual periods. This happens because ALL affects the bone marrow’s ability to produce platelets, which are responsible for clotting.
Chronic coughing is also one of the most common signs and symptoms of acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Since it is also one of the early signs of acute lymphoblastic leukemia, it should not be ignored.
Low red blood cell count, anemia, and low count of blood platelets caused by ALL lead to dizziness in some ALL patients.
One of the important acute leukemia symptoms is extreme tiredness as the bone marrow fails to produce red blood cells at optimum levels.
Bone pain caused by the overcrowding of abnormal cells in the bone marrow is also one of the most common acute lymphoblastic leukemia symptoms.
Those with acute lymphocytic leukemia symptoms may sometimes show non-specific signs in the form of recurrent fever or infections. Due to the abundance of abnormal white blood cells in the bone marrow, the patient may find it difficult to recover from infections.
Joint pain is also one of the signs of acute lymphoblastic leukemia, which is caused by the overcrowding of abnormal cells in the bone marrow. At times, these abnormal cells press on the nerves or joints and cause pain.
Loss of appetite is also one of the acute lymphoblastic leukemia symptoms. This is because ALL cells often accumulate in the spleen, causing it to enlarge. The enlarged spleen presses on the stomach, which, in turn, gives the brain a false sense of fullness.
ALL patients may also lose their appetite because of stress, depression, and pain associated with the disease.
When ALL cells accumulate in the spleen, it leads to the enlargement of the organ. This, in turn, causes pain in the abdomen region. This is one of the lymphoblastic leukemia symptoms that is easily ignored. Any pain that lasts for more than two weeks should not be ignored.
Night sweats are common in ALL patients as the body is constantly trying to fight the disease.
With the loss of appetite due to the accumulation of leukemia cells in the liver, spleen, and kidney, ALL patients experience unintended weight loss.
The shortage of normal cells and the overgrowth of abnormal white blood cells can cause extreme weakness in ALL patients.
When ALL cells spread further to other body parts, the disease causes swelling in the lymph nodes, the glands responsible for capturing bacteria and viruses.
In patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, especially T-cell ALL, the cancerous cells can cause the enlargement of the thymus, which further presses on the trachea. This can cause difficulty breathing.
Here are some of the potential acute lymphoblastic leukemia causes that can increase one’s risk of developing ALL. The following may answer the question, “What causes acute lymphoblastic leukemia?”
Genetic factors, namely certain gene mutations, chromosomal abnormalities, and certain inherited genetic tendencies, can serve as one of the possible acute lymphoblastic leukemia causes in some cases.
Excessive exposure to hazardous radiation, petrochemicals, tobacco smoke, and certain chemotherapy drugs is identified as one of the possible ALL causes.
Having certain inherited genetic conditions, such as Down Syndrome, Bloom Syndrome, Fanconi anemia, and ataxia telangiectasia, can be a possible cause of acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
Compromised immunity and disorders related to immunity may also serve as possible ALL causes.
Certain viral infections, such as the human T-cell leukemia virus and Epstein-Barr virus, can lead to an increase in the risk of acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
It is advisable to see an oncologist if any of the above-mentioned acute leukemia symptoms are persistent and do not go away with medications. Also, most of the acute lymphoblastic leukemia symptoms are similar to those of the flu, which can cause confusion. Thus, if the symptoms do not improve rapidly, it is better to see an oncologist.
Acute lymphocytic leukemia is mostly seen in children, and its symptoms are usually confused with those of the flu. However, it is always advisable to never ignore these symptoms in any case and consult a doctor in case they do not get better with medicine.