Leukemia: The Different Types

Leukemia occurs due to development of mutations of DNA in the white blood cells. It’s not yet still clear what causes the mutations to grow. These mutations causes the cells to develop and divide too fast than normal to maintain their life. The most common change in DNA in leukemia is called chromosome trans-location in which a portion of a single chromosome breaks off to attach itself to another different chromosome.

The result is usually a reduced number of platelets. Did you know that there are some genetic conditions and mutations that can be inherited from parent to offspring? However, most leukemia types are not hereditary. Generally, leukemia is classified according to how fast it grows and the cell types involved. The specific symptoms and treatment varies with the form of leukemia one is suffering from.

The Types of Leukemia

There are two levels of leukemia classification, these are First classification and second classification

First Classification

Under first classification or rather primary classification, this type of cancer is classified based on its growth rate and is further classified to other two sub-categories. These are Acute Leukemia and Chronic Leukemia.

Acute Leukemia

Acute leukemia grows rapidly fast and is capable of weakening the body within a very short period of time, usually weeks or months. The immature blood cells multiply very fast and can’t perform their normal functions. Aggressive treatment is recommended acute leukamia during its early stages of detection. Normally, earlier detected, the better. Don’t waste time once you’ve been diagnosed with Acute Leukemia, you should start your medication instantly.

Chronic Leukemia

Chronic Leukemia is a slow growing type of leukemia as opposed to acute leukamia and take several years to develop. It worsens progressively over a long period of time. It involves more mature blood cells that are capable of functioning normally for at least a longer duration of time.

There are several types of chronic leukemias depending on the rate of cell production, it is either the production rate is too high or too low. High rate of production means too many cells produced while low rate means very few are being produced. There are some types of chronic leukemia that can go un-detected for a very long period of time and doesn’t produce any symptoms during the early stages.

Second Classification

This classification is formed based the white blood cell that is being affected by Leukemia. Under secondary classification, there are the following types of leukemia;

Lymphocytic leukemia

This affects the lymphoid cells, also known as lymphocytes. The lymphocytes are the ones that make up the lymphatic tissue and the lymphoid which are essential part of the immune system.

Myelogenous leukemia

This is the leukemia type that affects the myeloid cells. Myeloid cells are the one responsible for the production of platelet- producing cells, red blood cells and white blood cells.

Based on the above first class and second class classification of leukemia, there are the following types:

Acute lymphocytic leukemia – This is the form of leukamia commonly associated with children though it can also occur in adults.

Acute Myelogenous leukemia – This form of leukemia is common with adult people but can also occur in children and young individuals.

Chronic lymphocytic leukemia – It’s the most type of chronic leukemia associated to adults. Usually, patients feel completely normal for a long period of time, even years without seeking any medical assistance.

Chronic myelogenous leukemia – This is another leukemia type that affects adults than children. It may fail to produce for several months or years before the cells multiplies rapid enough to be identified and diagnosed.

Featured Image Source: Photo by: zoghal / CC by

Posted on May 22, 2023