Discussion Medical

Discussion Post


250 words.


If leukemia is associated with an elevated white blood cell count, why is it also associated with an increased risk of infection?


Leukemia is a type of cancer that affects the blood and bone marrow, leading to an abnormal increase in the production of white blood cells. While an elevated white blood cell count may seem like a good thing, as white blood cells are a critical component of our immune system, the white blood cells produced in leukemia are abnormal and don’t function properly. They are not able to fight off infections effectively, making the person with leukemia more susceptible to infections.

In addition, the increased production of abnormal white blood cells in leukemia can also suppress the production of normal white blood cells and other cells in the bone marrow, further weakening the immune system. This suppression can also affect the production of red blood cells, leading to anemia, and platelets, leading to increased risk of bleeding and bruising.

Moreover, leukemia treatment such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy can also weaken the immune system by killing off both abnormal and normal blood cells, leaving the person more susceptible to infections. Additionally, some people with leukemia receive stem cell or bone marrow transplants, which suppress the immune system to prevent rejection of the transplanted cells. This suppression can last for several months, increasing the risk of infection during this time.

In conclusion, while leukemia is associated with an elevated white blood cell count, the increased production of abnormal white blood cells, suppression of the immune system, and treatment-related side effects can all contribute to the increased risk of infection in people with leukemia.

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