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Acute Leukemias

ICD-Code
C95.-
  • Acute leukemia is characterized by the rapid increase of immature blood cells. This crowding makes the bone marrow unable to produce healthy blood cells. Acute forms of leukemia can occur in children and young adults. Immediate treatment is required in acute leukemias due to the rapid progression and accumulation of the malignant cells, which then spill over into the bloodstream and spread to other organs of the body. Central nervous system (CNS) involvement is uncommon, although the disease can occasionally cause cranial nerve palsies.



Damage to the bone marrow, by way of displacing the normal bone marrow cells with higher numbers of immature white blood cells, results in a lack of blood platelets, which are important in the blood clotting process. This means people with leukemia may become bruised, bleed excessively, or develop pinprick bleeds (petechiae).

White blood cells, which are involved in fighting pathogens, may be suppressed or dysfunctional. This could cause the patient's immune system to be unable to fight off a simple infection or to start attacking other body cells.

Finally, the red blood cell deficiency leads to anemia, which may cause dyspnea. All symptoms can be attributed to other diseases; for diagnosis, blood tests and a bone marrow examination are required.

Some other related symptoms:

Fever, chills, night sweats and other flu-like symptoms
Weakness and fatigue
Swollen or bleeding gums
Neurological symptoms (headaches)
Enlarged liver and spleen
Frequent infection
Bone pain
Joint pain
Dizziness
Nausea
Swollen tonsils
Diarrhea
Paleness
Malaise
Unintentional weight loss