Chronic Leukaemias: CML, CLL, VTE

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Any blood forming cells or lymphoid cells inside our body can turn into a leukaemia cell. Once this change has taken place, the leukaemia cells are not able to go through their normal process of maturing. They might reproduce too quickly, but in a majority of cases the issue is that they don’t mature die when they should. They end up surviving and increasing in number, often over-crowding normal bone marrow cells, leading to low counts of normal blood cells.

Over the passage of time, leukaemia cells spread into the bloodstream and spread out to organs in the body from where they prevent other cells from functioning the way they should.

Mentioned below are the three most chronic cases of Leukaemia –

Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia (CML)

It is also known as chronic myelogenous leukaemia, and it is a type of cancer which originates in the blood forming cells of a person’s bone marrow and invades their blood stream. In CML, the leukaemia cells build up in high numbers within the body over a period of time, but a lot of people show no symptoms for at least a few years until after the disease has developed. The cells can sometimes invade other parts of the body, including a person’s spleen. It can also convert into an acute leukaemia which can invade almost any organ in the body.

A majority of cases of Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia occur in adults, but in rare cases it can occur in children too. The treatment is the same for adults as it is for children.

Chronic Lymphatic Leukaemia (CLL)

This is an extremely common type of leukaemia and it involves the appearance of matured defective neoplastic lymphocytes that have an abnormally long life span. The bone marrow, spleen, peripheral blood and lymph nodes are infiltrated in this disease. Its symptoms can either be absent or might include hepatomegaly, lymphadenopathy or nonspecific symptoms which can also be attributed to anaemia and immuno-suppression. Diagnosis of this cancer is done by the examination of peripheral blood smear and the bone marrow aspirate.

Cases of Chronic Lymphatic Leukaemia increase with age. About 3/4th of cases diagnosed are in patients over the ages of 60, with the disease being twice as common in men.

Although this cancer is progressive in nature, some patients may be devoid of symptoms for years. Therapy is not advised until the symptoms appear. Curing it is usually is not possible, which is treatment attempts to simply prolong the life of the patient. Supportive care may include the transfusion of packed Red Blood Cells (or sometimes erythropoietin injections for anaemia)

Venous Thrombo Embolism (VTE)

This is a blood clot (called a thrombus) which forms within a vein. Thrombosis is a term used for a blood clot which occurs inside a blood vessel. The most common type of VTE is a deep vein thrombosis (called DVT), which is a blood clot deep within the veins of the leg. If the thrombus breaks off (this process is called embolizing) and starts flowing towards the lungs, it can turn into a life-threatening blood clot in the lungs called a pulmonary embolism (PE).
An inflammatory reaction is usually present in this condition, generally in the superficial veins.


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