Leukemia is a blood cancer that predominantly affects a complex network of tissues making up the bone marrow and lymphatic system. In most cases, cancer spreads and affects the white blood cells, particularly in the bone marrow leading to excess production of these infection-fighting cells. Leukemia is a slowly progressing cancer that may go unnoticed; therefore, paying attention to the following silent signs becomes necessary.
Unexplained nosebleeds or frequent bleeding of the gums are among the first signs of blood clotting. Clots can force the blood out with the slightest bruises, so paying attention to these bleeds is crucial. Women may also experience heavy menstrual periods indicating a severe problem. Observing purple spots anywhere on the skin is also a sign of blood clotting, so immediate medical attention is advisable.
Fatigue and weight loss
Leukemia affects the body’s ability to produce new red blood cells. A low RBC count means reduced oxygenated blood flowing through the body to different organs resulting in weakness and lethargy. Persistent tiredness can force a person not to be able to keep up with daily activities. However, one’s appetite may also be affected, causing rapid weight loss.
Fever, pain, and weight loss
Frequent bouts of fever raise the body temperature resulting in night sweats and chills. In addition, a person will also experience bone pain and persistent aches and tenderness of the muscles and joints. Any discomfort in the belly could also indicate an enlarged spleen, liver, or even enlarged lymph nodes. These symptoms have no visual markers, but the progressing pain can indicate rapid organ damage.
Shortness of breath
No oxygenated blood in the circulatory system causes shortness of breath, even during basic activities. For example, even walking across the road may trigger panting or heavy breathing as the body becomes too weak to manage the stress.
Visible painless indicators
As leukemia progresses, adults can develop a pale complexion and notice enlarged lymph nodes around the armpits.
Leukemia exhibits simultaneous warning signs that vary depending on the affected person’s age. For example, cancer can develop between 18 and 65, sometimes affecting seniors above 65. The type of leukemia also determines the severity of these symptoms.