Many of the initial symptoms of acute lymphocytic leukemia are common to a large number of other illnesses that are much less severe. In many cases, individuals that have developed acute lymphocytic leukemia treat these initial symptoms with over the counter medication and rest until the length of time that the symptoms have lasted prompts the individual to seek treatment from a medical professional. Even then, a battery of tests will need to be conducted to determine what is causing the symptoms. In some cases, the acute lymphocytic leukemia progresses slowly, with the initial symptoms lasting for weeks or months. In other cases, the condition progresses quickly, becoming fatal within a few weeks without treatment.
The common symptoms of acute lymphocytic leukemia include headache, fever, fatigue, swollen lymph nodes, muscle aches, and pale skin. The individual may also experience loss of appetite and unexplained weight loss. These symptoms may last for a long period of time or may quickly worsen into other symptoms. If any of these symptoms have lasted longer than a week, the individual should seek medical treatment to rule out the development of acute lymphocytic leukemia or other forms of cancer. These symptoms are generally followed by the development of more severe symptoms of acute lymphocytic leukemia. These include the appearance of bruises without injury occurring, excessive bleeding, pin sized drops of blood appearing in the skin, frequent infections, excessive fatigue, and weakness. These symptoms are an indication that acute lymphocytic leukemia has progressed into a more aggressive stage of the disorder. If medical treatment is not obtained soon after the appearance of these symptoms, the individual will die.
In some cases, the symptoms of acute lymphocytic leukemia are dependent on the number of healthy blood cells are in the circulatory system, how many abnormal cells are present, and where the abnormal cells collect in the body. If the amount of red blood cells is affected, the patient may develop anemia, causing fatigue, lethargy, muscle weakness, and shortness of breath. When the levels of healthy white blood cells in the body are affected, the individual becomes ill more frequently and for longer periods of time. Without the proper numbers of white blood cells in the system, the body is unable to fight infection and the individual can die from complications brought on by simple illnesses. If the levels of platelets in the blood are affected, the body will lose the ability to heal itself, making minor cuts and wounds dangerous due to uncontrollable bleeding.
High numbers of acute lymphocytic leukemia affected cells in the body may cause pain in the bones and joints of the patient. It may also cause loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, and headaches. The condition is typically diagnosed when a blood test’s results are abnormal, indicating high levels of white blood cells and low numbers of other blood cells. A sample of the blood and bone marrow will be required to make a definitive diagnosis and the type of treatment used for the condition will depend on the age and general health of the patient as well as the stage acute lymphocytic leukemia was discovered in.
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