Leukemia is a group of cancers of the blood cells. It begins in the bone marrow where the blood cells are produced. In your body, the white blood cells function to fight against infections, red blood cells transport oxygen throughout the whole body, and platelets contain clotting factors to assist in blood coagulation in case of injury. In leukemia, there is an abnormally high amount of abnormal white blood cells that grow faster and does not stop growing. With time, these abnormal cells (also known as leukemia cells or blasts) crowds out the normal blood cells causing issues such as anemia, infections, and bleeding.
The leukemia cells may also spread to other organs and lymph nodes causing swelling and pain. The diagnosis is usually made through a blood test or bone marrow biopsy. While the exact mechanism of how leukemia occurs is unknown, experts believe that it is due to a combination of factors such as genetics and environmental. There are four types of leukemia: acute myeloid leukemia (AML), acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), and chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL).
Leukemia Symptom #1: Loss of Weight
Just like any other cancer, patients with leukemia may experience unexplained weight loss. In some cases, there may also be loss of appetite and this can be attributed as the cause of weight loss.
However, if you are not actively trying to lose weight and you find that you are losing more than two pounds a week or that your clothes no longer fit as well, it might be worth getting examined by your doctor. Weight loss occurs when the demands of your body exceeds the calories you are consuming. Excessive weight loss in leukemia is associated with poor outcomes.