Acute myeloid leukemia history and symptoms
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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. ; Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Raviteja Guddeti, M.B.B.S. , Carlos A Lopez, M.D. , Shyam Patel ; Grammar Reviewer: Natalie Harpenau, B.S.
Important components of the history of acute myeloid leukemia include assessment of pre-existing hematologic conditions, exposure to prior chemotherapy or radiation, occupational exposures, and congenital disorders. Symptoms include fever, fatigue, infections, and bleeding. These symptoms are a result of impaired normal blood cell production.
History and Symptoms
History about the following should be inquired while diagnosing acute myeloid leukemia:
- History of pre-existing hematological disorder (e.g. aplastic anemia, paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria, myelofibrosis, myelodysplastic syndrome)
- History of exposure to anti-cancer chemotherapy agents, especially alkylating agents, topoisomerase inhibitors, or platinum-containing agents
- History of exposure to ionizing radiation
- History of occupational exposure to benzene and other aromatic hydrocarbons
- History of any congenital disorders (e.g. Down syndrome, Bloom syndrome, Li-Fraumeni syndrome)
In acute myeloid leukemia symptoms are due to an increased number of malignant white blood cells displacing or otherwise interfering with production of normal blood cells in the bone marrow. A lack of normal white blood cell production makes the patient susceptible to infections; while the leukemic cells themselves are derived from white blood cell precursors, they have no infection-fighting capacity. A lack of red blood cells (anemia) can cause fatigue, paleness, and shortness of breath. A lack of platelets can lead to easy bruising or bleeding with minor trauma.
Patients usually present with the following symptoms:
- Weight loss
- Loss of appetite
- Shortness of breath with exertion
- Easy bruising or bleeding
- Bleeding gums
- Bone pain
- Joint pain
- Persistent or frequent infections
- Hoffman, Ronald et al. (2005), pp. 1074–75.