Is There A Link Between Leukemia And Anemia?

Both leukemia and anemia are blood diseases. According to Mayo Clinic, leukemia is a type of cancer that attacks the blood-producing tissues of the body, such as the lymphatic system and the bone marrow. Typically, this cancer affects the body's immune system by causing an overproduction of white blood cells. As a result, the body's defense mechanism gets compromised. Cleveland Clinic warns that people with leukemia may show skin paleness, fatigue, shortness of breath, sudden weight loss, tenderness in bones or joints, and easy bruising, among other symptoms.

On the other hand, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) defines anemia as a disease that involves fewer healthy red blood cells in the body. Anemia may lead to insufficient oxygen delivery to the main organs of the body due to the lack of hemoglobin — a protein that allows red blood cells to deliver oxygen throughout the body. As a result, NHLBI explains that you may experience fatigue, shortness of breath, paleness, dizziness, weakness, and jaundice-like symptoms.

What is the link between leukemia and anemia?

According to Healthline, there are several similarities between the symptoms of leukemia and anemia. However, because of the nature of the disease, it's possible for leukemia patients to develop anemia as well. When there is an increase in white blood cells, there may not be enough room for the development of red blood cells. If this happens, your body may have a shortage of red blood cells, leading to anemia.

Moreover, since leukemia is a type of cancer, you may be exposed to harsh treatments such as chemotherapy or radiation. This might interfere with the functions of the bone marrow, which is responsible for producing healthy blood cells, per Healthline. Fortunately, it is possible for this type of anemia to be reversed. Various treatments are available, such as iron supplements, medications, and red blood cell transfusions, suggests Medical News Today. Consult your doctor about which treatment would be best for you.