Inside your long bones is the so-called marrow, a place where blood cells are produced. There is a condition known as acute myeloid leukemia or AML wherein there’s rapid accumulation of white blood cells in the marrow, and this impedes the formation of normal cells of the blood. Also known as acute nonlymphocytic leukemia or acute myelogenous leukemia, this condition is regarded as a rare form of blood cancer, accounting for approximately only 1.2% of all cancer deaths in the US.
The following are some pieces of information that you need to know about this condition:
Cause of Acute Myeloid Leukemia
Abnormalities in the DNA that directs the functioning of the bone marrow can cause the production of more white blood cells than necessary. In turn, this impacts the formation of other essential blood components.
The white blood cells produced in excessive amounts by the bone marrow are immature, and therefore they are incapable of protecting your body from infections. In other words, your immune system is also significantly compromised if you have acute myeloid leukemia.
It is not clear what triggers mutations in the DNA that can cause acute myeloid leukemia to strike. However, experts suspect that it may be due to exposure to radiation, certain chemicals and even medications used for chemotherapy.
Age is said to be a risk factor of acute myeloid leukemia. As you age, your risk of suffering from this rare form of blood cancer increases. Some medical professionals believe that cigarette smoking can put you at high risk of battling the condition. Similarly, you have higher chances of having acute myeloid leukemia if you have a genetic disorder such as Down’s syndrome.
It’s important to note that just because you have the risk factors mentioned above doesn’t mean that you will develop acute myeloid leukemia. Likewise, having none of the said risk factors doesn’t mean that you won’t develop the disease.
Acute Myeloid Leukemia Symptoms
During the early stages of acute myeloid leukemia, you may feel like you are down with the flu. It’s not unlikely for you to have fever, fatigue as well as body aches.
Eventually, you might experience unintended weight loss, which is a common symptom of cancer. Bruising easily, swollen and bleeding gums, nosebleeds, excessive sweating most especially at bedtime, shortness of breath, heavy periods in women and bone pain are some of the other symptoms of acute myeloid leukemia.
Treating acute myeloid leukemia usually involves a couple of phases: remission induction therapy and consolidation therapy. The former is commonly done in the hospital due to risk for infection and unnecessary bleeding. The latter is performed in order to keep acute myeloid leukemia in remission or preventing it from relapsing.
Remission induction therapy relies on the use of chemotherapy drugs in order to kill presently existing leukemia cells in the body of the patient. Since chemotherapy also kills healthy cells of the body, the individual undergoing it is at high risk of suffering from infections.
On the other hand, consolidation therapy helps prevent acute myeloid leukemia from striking again. This phase of the treatment’s goal is to make sure that any leukemia cells around are killed. The patient may also undergo stem cell transplant wherein the body is allowed to grow new and healthy bone marrow.
Natural Remedies for Acute Myeloid Leukemia
It’s important to have the immune system strengthened for the management of acute myeloid leukemia. Opting for a highly nutritious diet and avoiding anything that contains toxins (cured meats, fast food, canned goods, etc.) is crucial for bolstering the person’s immunity. As much as possible, organic foods should be introduced into the diet.
Several studies have shown that supplementing with vitamin C and consuming vitamin C-rich foods are beneficial for those with the blood disease. Vitamin C is known to enhance the levels of glutathione, an antioxidant, in red blood cells. Also, vitamin C is important for the immune system.
There are a few herbs that are said to be good for those with acute myeloid leukemia. Some of them include rosemary, periwinkle, willow leaf, pau d’ arco, nettle, and papaya.