Some of the symptoms of leukemia in adults will look like other diseases. Symptoms like fever, chills, weakness, bleeding, abdominal pain and more could also be symptoms for other cancers. Learn more about adult leukemia and how to know the exact symptoms to be careful of. Leukemia is cancer of the blood cells. Leukemia occurs when the white cells in the bone marrow start producing at an abnormal rate. Adult leukemia occurs mainly after the age of 55 and equals 90% of the total leukemia cases reported. Adult leukemia can be seen mainly in four different types: acute and chronic lymphocytic leukemia and acute and chronic myeloid leukemia. Adult leukemia brings on many symptoms, such as fever, night sweats, weight loss and tiny red spots under the skin.
- Fever, Chills or Flu-like Symptoms. Some of the symptoms of leukemia in adults are fever, chills or flu like symptoms. Many of the adult symptoms are due to other diseases that led to leukemia, such as being treated by chemo for another type of cancer. With a suppressed immune system, patients are susceptible to illnesses of many types.
- Swollen Lymph Nodes. Swollen lymph nodes will occur under the arms, chest, and neck and in the groin. Leukemia cancer cells may accumulate in the lymph nodes causing them to swell. Other types of cancer have swollen lymph nodes too.
- Weakness and Tiredness. Due to high concentration of leukemia cells, blood does not flow properly and circulation may be an additional problem. Fatigue and tiredness are symptoms of adult leukemia along with swelling, pain and sometimes slurred speech.
- Easy Bleeding or Bruising. Due to a higher number of white blood cells, there are fewer red blood cells. This damaged morrow results in the inability for the blood to clot like before. Fewer red cells or blood platelets causes the leukemia patient to develop easy bleeding and bruising.
- Tiny Red Spots Under the Skin. Tiny red spots are also caused by fewer blood platelets. Not all tiny red spots are leukemia symptoms though. Many older individuals will develop tiny red spots due to aging or system abuse.
- Abdominal Pain. Adult leukemia patients often complain about fullness in their belly or stomach area. This may be caused because the patient may have enlarged spleen or liver and thus causing fullness in the stomach area. This fullness may cause the patient to have less appetite and thus cause weight loss.
- Nights Sweats. Along with fever and chills, another symptom of adult leukemia is night sweats. A person may have night sweats and not perspire much during the day. At night time however, the patient will have excessive and abnormal sweating during their sleep. This sweating is usually a cold sweat and will wake them up.
- Recurring Infections. Leukemia causes the white blood cells to suppress the immune system. Once the immune system is suppressed, the patient cannot fight off infection like others. With a suppressed immune system, recurring infections may occur such as mouth sores, tonsil problems, diarrhea, bronchitis, pneumonia and others. Recurring bacterial and viral infections are also symptoms prior to diagnosis of adult leukemia.
- Weight Loss. Weight loss is a sign for all cancers, not just adult leukemia. As stated above, weight loss generally occurs when a sense of fullness is felt in the stomach area. Due to enlarged organs, the stomach feels fuller and eating only seems to worsen the condition.
- Bone and Joint Pain. Bone and joint pain is another symptom of adult leukemia. Pain in the joints and bones is due to accumulation of the cancerous leukemia cells inside the joints or underneath the covering of the bones itself. Not all bone and joint pain is cancerous and many have pain due to age, being obese or arthritis.
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