There have been various kinds of disease affecting humans health chronically. One of the severe diseases is blood disease, which are sicknesses that affect one or more parts of the blood. There are three main categories of blood disease, which are, blood disease that affects red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. Blood disorders will affect blood plasma as well. Leukemia happens to be the blood cells cancer, which is when the white blood cells go abnormal. Leukemia is possible to be either very actively-progressing or chronically-developing (Healthwise, 2010). This disease can further lead to many other related diseases.
This disease is being diagnosed in every country of the world. The country with highest incidence of leukemia cancer appears to be Denmark with 29 incidences per 100,000 individuals (International Agency for Research on Cancer, 2013). While in the United States, 274,930 people are estimated to be diagnosed or recovering from leukemia. 31% of males are approximated to be more than females to be diagnosed with leukemia, thus the number of males to die caused by leukemia is more logically. Besides, leukemia is the cause for the death of one-third of all cancer deaths of the children with the age below 15 (Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, 2012). However, there has been improvement where since 1969, the mortality rate of this disease towards children decreases by 66%. This disease is 10 times more diagnosable in adults than children. Every day 60 out of 129 people in America that are diagnosed with leukemia cannot fight with the disease and eventually die (Leukemia Research Foundation, 2012).
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There are several factors that bring risks of developing various kinds of leukemia. There is no exact cause of being diagnosed with leukemia, in fact, few causes and risks lead a high possibility to leukemia. One of the risks is people which are always exposed to very high levels of radiation are more prone to leukemia, such as the survivors which are involved with the nuclear accident or atomic bomb explosions (Rising Tide, 2013). We must be aware that the leakage of nuclear power can bring severe harm to human's health, therefore knowing this we must be alert always if we are being around nuclear power plant. Besides, smokers have high possibilities to be diagnosed with leukemia. This is because cigarette smoke contains benzene, which is a carcinogen that is a cancer-causing agent. Other chemicals as well as carcinogen flow into the bloodstream and eventually affect the bone marrow to produce irregular white blood cells that leads to leukemia (Steven Mitchell, 2013). Therefore, smokers that quit smoking can not only prevent leukemia but many other diseases as well. People should also avoid being secondhand smokers and preventing breathing in hazardous air. There is another credibly cause to lead people to leukemia which is genetic disorder. Genetic disorder with abnormal chromosomes such as Down syndrome can somehow be related to be one of the major risks of leukemia (Mayo Clinic staff, 2012).
The development of leukemia starts from the abnormality of the white blood cells in the body. The DNA of the white blood cells mutates and subsequently causing it to give wrong signals and instructions to the cell that is in control of the actions. These cells grow and undergo mitosis rapidly forming more and more abnormal white blood cells. These abnormal cells do not die off shortly as the normal white blood cells do. They stay and continue living in the blood of human's body and eventually start accumulating to larger number of them in the body. After a period of time, the abnormal cells crowd out the normal and healthy living cells thus followed by the symptoms of leukemia. There are two types of progression in getting leukemia: acute or chronic. Acute leukemia is where the immature and useless abnormal white blood cells that do not function, accumulate in the person's body, while chronic leukemia the progress of the formation of abnormal cells is slower, therefore the cells are still good to function at the moment. Acute leukemia appears to be very aggressive while chronic leukemia does not show any symptoms initially (Christian Nordqvist, 2009). There is another type of classification referring to the type of white blood cell that is affected: lymphocytic leukemia or myelogenous leukemia. Lymphocytic leukemia affects the lymphocytes that make up lymphatic tissues which is responsible for the body's immune system. On the other hand, myelogenous leukemia affects myeloid cells, which are cells that produce red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. In short, there are acute lymphocytic leukemia, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, acute myelogenous leukemia and lastly chronic myelogenous leukemia (Mayo Clinic staff, 2012). These four different types of leukemia affect different people according to their age or gender.
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There is a list of common symptoms that might occur on a person that is diagnosed with leukemia. They are fever, night sweats or chills, persistent fatigue and weakness, headaches, sore throat, vomiting, not feeling hungry, general discomfort, vision problems, bone or join pain or tenderness, unintentional weight lost, swollen gums, painless swollen lymph nodes in the armpit, neck or groin, swollen and painful belly caused by enlarged spleen (Healthwise, 2010). When the patient has extremely less white blood cells in the body, the person cannot fight infection resulting in frequent infection, with the condition called neutropenia. A patient of leukemia might lack of red blood cells too, it leads to anemia, causing fatigue, short of breath or looking pale. Besides, unusual bleeding or bruising might happen if platelets have dipped into an alarming number, which is called thrombocytopenia, red and purple dots will be shown on the patient's body (Canadian Cancer Society, 2009).
This disease can be treated with few treatment methods; however, chemotherapy appears to be the major treatment method. Other options of the treatment methods are biological therapy, targeted therapy, radiation therapy, stem cell transplant surgery or watchful waiting (Canadian Cancer Society, 2009). Chemotherapy is a drug treatment, where drug is used to kill the cancerous white blood cells. According to different types of leukemia that are diagnosed on the patient, a single drug or a combination of them will be given. It will be given either in the form of pills or injecting it directly into the bloodstream (Mayo Clinic staff, 2012). The drugs given are used to prevent the cancerous cells to continue growing and spreading. Meanwhile, the healthy cells in the body will be damaged because they are affected by the drugs as well, thus causing side effects to the patients. Nevertheless the healthy cells that are affected will eventually recover as time passes (Canadian Cancer Society, 2009). Radiation therapy is where X-ray is used to damage the leukemia cells and stop them from growing. Stem cell transplant is a treatment method when the healthy bone marrow from a donor is transplanted into the patient's body, replacing the diseased bone marrow. Radiation therapy has to be done before the stem cell transplant takes place (Mayo Clinic staff, 2012). Biological therapy uses natural body substances or drugs that are made from the natural body substances to boost the body immune system to fight against leukemia while targeted therapy uses drugs to attack the cancerous cells only. Surgery is to remove the enlarged spleen that causes a lot of discomfort and pain. Without the spleen, the body is more prone to infections (Canadian Cancer Society, 2009).
As a conclusion, leukemia is very vital and unpredictable to be avoided. Therefore, we must always be alert to notice the signs and symptoms of it and have regular body check up. We have to ensure ourselves and people around us to have a healthy body and lead a healthy lifestyle as far as we can reach. Besides, we should not be too reluctant to go for treatments, assuming ourselves to be fine. Being aware of our health conditions can help us to lift our lives to higher quality.