Leukemia is a type of cancer that happens in the blood cells. With leukemia, the body produces abnormal blood cells in the bone marrow. Usually, these are white blood cells – the ones that are responsible for fighting infections and keeping the body healthy – although in some cases red blood cells may be produced as well. The problem is that the abnormal white blood cells do not function like normal white blood cells.
They do a very poor job of protecting the body from infection. But they grow and divide quickly and can take over the regular white blood cells. What that means is that now there are just abnormal white blood cells that are not able to fight off infections. This results in a number of symptoms that we will be discussing here. There are different types of leukemia, and they can develop in both children and adults. But these are the warning signs that you should be looking for.
It should come as no surprise that infection is a part of having leukemia. In fact, the infection may be one of the definitions for leukemia as the illness directly affects the white blood cells. That’s why it is known as an autoimmune disease – a disease in which the body attacks itself. What that means for those who are looking for warning signs leukemia is that if you’re continually getting sick and you have a hard time recovering from getting sick, then something is obviously wrong.
For most people, a healthy immune system means that they are able to stave off nearly all of the viruses and bacteria that human beings come in contact with, and even when they encounter an illness that they can’t fight off immediately, the white blood cells kick into action and eliminate it. If this isn’t happening, it can be a warning sign of leukemia.