What happens in the blood in a patient with acute lymphocytic leukemia?

I understand the basics of leukemia. I know it happens in the bone marrow and it affects the genes and cell structures of red or white blood cells and/or platelets.

But how exactly does a person die from leukemia? Is it safe to assume that the body runs out of oxygen because the red blood cells become too abnormal to carry oxygen around the body?

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  • Rubym
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago
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    Most patients with leukemia die of infection, because the excess white cells do not do what they are supposed to do, fight infection. I don't know about the red cells being abnormal, it is the white cells that grow to large numbers but they are ineffective in killing germs.

    Leukemia patients are very prone to bleeding and bruising, and like I say infections. There can be various reasons for death, it is something like patients with AIDS (of course not contracted the same way), but the body just can not fight off infections, very minor infections can become life threatening. Also patients can have strokes because their can be bleeding into the brain among other things.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Leukemia is a disease in which the count of WBC's reduces. Lymphocytic leukemia is just a type of leukemia affecting circulating cells of lymphoid origin. Lymphatic channels collect the lymph which is the fluid which oozes out of the blood vessels and contains WBC's along with other contents of blood plasma.

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  • 4 years ago

    No. It's the autoimmune disease called 'lupus erythematosus', in which white cells devour red cells. While this happens, the characteristic "L-E cell" appears in blood smears, a white cell surrounding a red cell. The problem in leukemia is that large numbers of leukemic white cells crowd the red cells out of the bone marrow. In both diseases, anemia develops---either from destruction or marrow replacement. Both are now very treatable.

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