Leukemia Symptoms for Older Adults

Senior Home Care in Birmingham

Senior Home Care in Birmingham

Leukemia is a blood cancer that we often associate with a heartbreaking childhood illness. Leukemia is a type of cancer that affects the blood cells, so it doesn’t cause tumors to form like in other cancers. It usually impacts white blood cells.

But it’s not only children who can get leukemia. There are certain types of leukemia that can strike when a person is older. Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) develops in the bone marrow in nonlymphocytic white blood cells. It often grows and spreads quickly. AML is a common type of leukemia in older adults, often not diagnosed until at least the late 60s. AML is more common in older adults, because it’s usually caused by genetic mutations. The mutations do not cause cancer at first, but they can build up over time and lead to leukemia.

In addition to AML, Chronic leukemia doesn’t show up until the later years either. These slow-growing cancerous cells often don’t produce any symptoms in the early stages. That causes them to build up and turn into chronic leukemia.

Some leukemia symptoms that you, your loved one, and others who care for your loved one, such as his senior home care team, should be aware of are:

  • Enlarged lymph nodes
    The lymph nodes often swell when they are inflamed and fighting off something in the body. Your senior home care provider can do a quick check of your loved one’s neck or under the arms to feel and see if the lymph nodes are swollen and tender to the touch.
  • Joint and bone pain
    While arthritis can cause this pain, if your loved one hasn’t had any joint or bone pain in the past, a new development of pain may be a symptom of leukemia.
  • Bleeding more than normal, such as nosebleeds or bleeding gums
    If your senior home care provider helps your loved one with oral care (such as brushing and flossing his teeth), they should alert you if he has started to bleed each time they care for his teeth.
  • Mysterious bruises
    If you or your senior home care provider have noticed more than normal bruising on your loved one or bruising in areas that don’t seem like they could have been injured (such as the chest or stomach), you’ll want to get those reviewed by his doctor.
  • Paleness
    If it seems all the color has left your loved one’s face, it might be an indication that his body is battling leukemia cells.

Other symptoms can include:

  • swelling or feeling fullness in the abdomen
  • Chronic infections
  • weight loss
  • fatigue
  • night sweats
  • loss of appetite
  • weakness
  • shortness of breath

If you suspect your loved one has leukemia or perhaps some other serious illness, his healthcare provider may identify leukemia through a blood test called a complete blood count. The test will show too many white blood cells or cells that look out of the ordinary. If they do, she will let you and your loved one know what the next steps are for treatment and care.

If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring a professional Senior Home Care in Birmingham, AL, call and talk to the staff at Lipford Home Care (205) 623-5700.

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