According to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, someone in the United States is diagnosed with a blood cancer, such as leukemia, every three minutes. When someone you love, such as a senior parent, is diagnosed with leukemia, learning about the condition is the first step in ensuring they receive the right care. One of the things you might be surprised to learn is that there are different kinds of leukemia.
Leukemia Affects White Blood Cells
As you may know, there are different kinds of blood cells, and most of them are created in the stem cells of the bone marrow. The basic kinds of blood cells include:
- Platelets: Platelets help blood to clot. They float through the bloodstream for approximately nine days. If they encounter a damaged blood vessel, they stick there and form a clot to plug the hole. If they are not used to form a clot, they are removed from the bloodstream via the spleen.
- Red Blood Cells: Red blood cells are unique because they do not have a nucleus, which allows them to carry more oxygen. In fact, the job of red blood cells is to carry oxygen from the lungs throughout the body.
- White Blood Cells: White blood cells come in lots of different shapes, but all of them are part of the immune system. It is their job to travel through the body and fight off infections.
Leukemia causes abnormalities in the white blood cells as they form in the bone marrow. The abnormal cells divide and reproduce faster than healthy cells, crowding them out. Eventually, the unhealthy cells leave the bone marrow and travel through the bloodstream and spread to organs, causing other cells in the body to behave abnormally as well.
Kinds of Leukemia
Leukemia is classified according to whether it came on suddenly (acute) or gradually (chronic). It is also classified according to the types of blood cells that are involved. Some of the different kinds of leukemia are:
- Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL): The cause of ALL is unknown, but doctors do know that it is a form of leukemia that progresses rapidly unless it is treated promptly. This form of leukemia mainly occurs in children.
- Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML): AML primarily affects immature blood cells. It can be hard to treat, but will progress quickly if not treated.
- Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL): CLL is the most prevalent form of leukemia in adults over the age of 55. It may progress rapidly or slowly depending on its form. Hairy cell leukemia is a form of CLL that gets its name from the way the cells look. Hairy cell leukemia is rare.
- Chronic Myeloid Leukemia (CML): CML occurs mostly in adults. It is often diagnosed in its early stages, making treatment quite effective.
Knowing the type of leukemia your family member has will allow you to learn more about the specifics of their condition, including care they may need. If you are facing a leukemia diagnosis for a senior in your life, hiring a senior care provider can be beneficial to their care as they go through treatment and recovery. A senior care provider can come to the senior’s home for just a few hours during the day, or for longer periods of time, including for overnight care.
IF YOU OR AN AGING LOVED ONE ARE CONSIDERING IN-HOME SENIOR CARE IN SUMMERLIN, NV, PLEASE CONTACT THE CARING STAFF AT GOLDEN HEART SENIOR CARE. CALL TODAY 702-800-4616.