What exactly is acute myeloid leukemia, the disease that killed Bob Collymore?

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Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a type of cancer that affects the blood and bone marrow.

In the bone marrow, acute myleoid leukemia affects the red blood cells, platelets and all white blood cells.

READ ALSO: Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore dead at 61

According to leukemia.org, AML causes overproduction of immature white blood cells. The immature white blood cells are unable to fight or prevent diseases. These cells can easily move into the bloodstream and circulate throughout the body.

The immature white blood cells crowd the bone marrow, leaving no room for normal blood cells. Inadequate production of red blood cells and platelets in the bone marrow can lead to anaemia, easy bleeding and susceptibility to injuries.

Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore is among the people who have succumbed to Acute Myeloid Leukemia.
| Source: Business Today |

Causes of Acute Myeloid Leukemia

One of the major causes of AML is the damage of one or more of the genes that are responsible for blood cell development. Other causes include:

  • High doses of radiation
  • Long exposure to industrial chemicals like benzene
  • Smoking
  • Some chemotherapy drugs
  • Certain blood disorders such as aplastic anaemia
  • When an abnormal gene is passed on from one generation to the next

Symptoms of Acute Myeloid Leukemia

  • Physical activities result to: fatigue, dizziness, paleness, and shortness of breathe due to anaemia.
  • Fever
  • Weakness
  • Slow healing and frequent infections due to lack of normal white blood cells.
  • Excessive bleeding and easy bruising due to a low platelet count.
  • Bone and chest pains, swollen gums and lymph nodes, and abdominal discomfort.

Sometimes people may not show the symptoms. The disease is diagnosed using a blood test. If not treated, acute myeloid leukemia can be fatal.

Treatment options for Acute Myeloid Anaemia

  • Chemotherapy
  • Stem cell transplant
  • Radiation
  • Targeted therapy.

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