What Are Some Symptoms of Acute Leukemia?


The symptoms of acute myeloid leukemia vary by patient and by the specific subtype of the illness, but most forms of leukemia cause weight loss, fatigue, fever and night sweats, according to the American Cancer Society. In addition to these general symptoms, AML can also cause dizziness, headaches and shortness of breath.

Acute myeloid leukemia works by impairing the body's ability to produce blood cells, according to the American Cancer Society, which is responsible for many of the generalized symptoms of the disease. A shortage of red blood cells causes shortness of breath and dizziness, and a shortage of platelets can impair clotting and cause nosebleeds and excessive bruising, especially of the gums. AML is also responsible for a severe drop in a person's white blood cell count, which impairs the body's immune response and allows secondary infections to take hold. These secondary infections often have their own symptoms that can sometimes mask the symptoms of leukemia. The reduced blood cell count is a clinical symptom that can be detected with a standard blood panel, but additional tests, such as a bone marrow biopsy, might be necessary before a definitive diagnosis of acute myeloid leukemia can be made by a doctor.

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