Leukemia is a disease of the blood and bone marrow that occurs on the background of genetic predispositions to cancer. Leukemia affects the cellular process of maturation, causing the accumulation of immature blood cells in the spinal marrow and bloodstream. In some cases leukemia causes the incomplete cells to multiply very quickly, while in other cases the abnormal blood cells have prolonged periods of life and persist in different places inside the body. Incomplete blood cells can’t substitute for normal blood cells, as they can’t carry out their roles. The cells affected by leukemia are therefore incompatible with the organism and can cause serious damage.
Judging by the speed of development and the persistence of the disorder, there are two types of leukemia: acute leukemia and chronic leukemia. Judging by the types of stem cells affected by the disorder, leukemia can either be lymphocytic or myelogenous.
Acute leukemia is different from chronic leukemia by the levels that stem cells are able to reach in their development (stem cells that present anomalies still manage to partially develop and either resemble immature cells or complete, normal white blood cells).
Acute leukemia is a form of cancer that develops very rapidly. It is manifested through overpopulation of the blood with immature cells that are unable to fulfill the functions of normal blood cells. In the case of acute leukemia, the marrow is unable to produce normal quantities of red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. Patients who suffer from leukemia also develop anemia, a deficiency of normal red blood cells. Also, a decreased number of white blood cells reduces the body’s ability of overcoming infections, while the lack of platelets facilitates inflammation and bleeding.