Acute lymphocytic leukaemia
What is acute lymphocytic leukaemia?
Acute lymphocytic leukaemia or acute lymphoblastic leukaemia is a type of blood cancer, which primarily affects the bone marrow, the spongy tissue inside the bones, which is responsible for the production of blood cells.
The disease causes excessive production of immature lymphocytes, which are a type of white blood cells. These cells are responsible for taking care of the immune system of the body. ALL is a very rapid progressing cancer, and may prove fatal within a few weeks or months, if left untreated. ‘Acute’ word in ALL is typically used because of this rapid progressing behaviour of the disease. The disease may present with symptoms, like feeling of tiredness, pale skin colour, fever, easy bleeding, enlarged lymph nodes or bone pain.
Acute lymphocytic leukaemia is most common in children, and can be treated well if addressed on time. It may also happen in adults, but it’s a rare condition and may not respond well to treatment.
Acute lymphocytic leukaemia happens due to mutation in the genes of the cells which are responsible for production of lymphocytes. The mutation causes the cells to produce immature lymphocytes at the much faster rate. These immature lymphocytes are known as lymphoblasts. As they are abnormal cells, they do not function properly. Mutation causes these cells to live longer than the normal cells and soon they outnumber the healthy cells in the blood.
What causes mutation in the cells is still not known, but genetic predisposition has not been found in the cases of ALL.
Signs and symptoms
Sign and symptoms of ALL may include-
- Pain in bones
- Bleeding from gums
- Increased frequency of infections
- Frequent and severe epistaxis( bleeding from nose)
- Swelling and induration of lymph nodes around the neck, underarm, abdomen or groin
- Paleness of skin
- Shortness of breath
- Tiredness, weakness and fatigue
Risk factors for acute lymphocytic leukaemia may include-
- People and children who have previously been exposed to high levels of radiation, like during chemotherapy, or are the survivors of nuclear attack are more at risk for developing this cancer
- People in contact with chemicals, like benzene, which is used as a solvent in oil refineries, found in cigarette smoke and some cleaning detergents and paint strippers
- Congenital genetic disorders, like Down’s syndrome have been seen associated with acute lymphocytic leukaemia
- People having infection with human T-cell leukaemia virus-1(HTLV-1) or Ebstein Barr virus are more at risk
- Males are more likely to develop this condition
Doctor will suggest several tests to make the diagnosis of acute lymphocytic leukaemia, like blood tests to know the white blood cells count and other parameters, bone marrow test to look for leukaemia cells, imaging tests like ultrasound, CT scan and X-rays, spinal fluid test to investigate if the cancerous cells have metastasised.
Homeopathy provides a supportive treatment in the cases of acute lymphocytic leukaemia. The medicines help in controlling the rate at which the lymphoblasts are produced from the bone marrow. The homeopathic medicines work on the root cause of the disease, and thus help in reducing the body tendencies at the level of genetics.
Individualised homeopathic treatment is the choice of intervention that is given to the patients of ALL. The individualised medicines are carefully selected after detailed case taking of the patient, which includes elaborate case history, specially focusing on the mental symptoms, his desires and aversions, his individual susceptibility, the family history, in short patient’s constitution as a whole. The medicines prescribed on this basis have capacity to go deep enough at the genetics level to treat the disease.
Dr. Ashok Choudhary is a specialist doctor for all chronic, genetic and congenital diseases. His treatment has helped the cancer patients to improve their health and prevent complications and live a better life.