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Causes of leukemia

Scientist didn’t discover the exact causes of leukemia, sothe doctors rarely may say why someone got leukemia. It is most likely thatcombination of different factors lead to this illness. Usually, these aregenetic predisposition and environmental influence.

Leukemia develops when the DNA (genetic material) of someblood cells get mutated. DNA could be damaged by mutation or lost, and thoseerrors are past onto the next generations of the blood cells. Those mutatedblood cells grow faster, live longer than normal blood cells, and also, theyhave a tendency to accumulate in the body. They never mature properly andtherefore lose their function in the body. All these changes affect the bodyand cause symptoms of leukemia.

Leukemia Classification

Specialists differentiate leukemia upon on the growth speedand the type of affected cells.

Acute leukemia involves immature blood cells. Those cells progressfast and the patient’s condition is rapidly getting worse. Treatment must be appliedquickly and is usually quite aggressive. Chronic leukemia sometime might go without the properdiagnose for years. This type of leukemia involves more mature blood cells. Theycould multiply and function more or less normally, and that’s why it may haveno symptoms.

According to the type of the white blood cells which areaffected by mutation, there are:

Lymphocytic leukemia, affecting lymphpocytes. Theseblood cells are the basis of the immune system.Myelogenous leukemia, affecting the myeloidcells, which differentiate into the red, white, and platelet producing cells.

Types of leukemia

The common types of leukemia are:

Acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) – usually affects children,rarely adults.Acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) - It could affect both childrenand adults.Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) this is the most commonleukemia in adult people, but very rare in children. This is the type ofleukemia that might go undiagnosed for years.Chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) usually affects adults. Sometimes,it may be months or years before the first symptoms appear. Hairy cell leukemia is a rare type of leukemia.

Risk Factors

Anything that increases a chance of developing the illnessis considered to be a risk factor. Even though you identify some of the riskfactors as present, it doesn’t mean that you will definitely get sick. Also,some people suffering from leukemia never had any of the risk factors.

Risk factors for leukemia include:

Chemotherapy and radiation, used in cancer treatmentsExposure to extreme levels of radiationExposure to different chemicals (like benzene, found inchemical industry or gasoline) Smoking amplifies the potential risks of acutemyelogenous leukemia.Genetic and blood disorders, such as Down or myelodysplasticsyndromes Genetic predisposition (risks ofgetting leukemia are much higher if anyone in your family already had the illness)

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