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A practical guide for nutritional and traditional health care.

Leukemia

The blood disorder known as leukemia is a very commonly occurring form of cancer that predominantly affects young adults and many children across the world. The disease has several levels of severity in its effect on the body of an individual-there are several types of the cancer and symptoms vary in intensity from one form of the condition to the other. Symptoms occur quickly and suddenly during an incidence of the acute forms of leukemia, the disease affects the white blood cells and is predominantly a blood disorder. Physical symptoms caused by the cancer include a combination of symptoms such as intense physical fatigue, sudden weight loss, problems such as anemia, sudden fever and persistent night sweats. Susceptibility of the body to problems such as colds and recurring bouts of infections from different pathogens increase exponentially. Also commonly seen during the late stages of the condition are easy bleeding and bruising in the skin, swelling and inflammation in the vital organs such as the liver, the spleen and the lymphatic glands is also fairly common. Adults can be affected by milder and more chronic forms of leukemia, when they are in their middle and in the later years of life-symptoms during this chronic form of the condition are generally very moderate in their intensities. An accurate diagnosis of leukemia can only be carried out using blood and bone marrow tests, this is because many of the signs of leukemia are very varied in their occurrence and the symptoms can also indicate the presence of simpler illnesses not related to cancer-therefore careful diagnosis is required to determine the actual incidence of leukemia in an individual.

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The sudden, uncontrollable multiplication of defective white blood cells best characterizes the condition of leukemia, this form of cancer can be classified as one primarily affecting the bone marrow and the lymph glands, the disease induces the production of defective white blood cells-these cancerous white blood cells begin to multiply and use up resources at an alarming rate within the body. The recurrence of infections is suddenly a very real possibility as this defect in the white blood cells hinders the immune system, and slows the ability of the body to resist infection from different pathogenic organisms. The large number of defective white blood cells cause swelling in vital organs such as the liver, the spleen and in the lymph glands-these tissues swell up as white blood cells accumulate within them at a rapid rate. The actual and the real causes of all cancers and of course, leukemia still remains a mystery-this is one of the greatest remaining challenges of medical science. The risk of leukemia is also increased in an individual when he is exposed to toxic substances and external risk factors such as radiation. Other factors also play a role in the incidence of the disease, most notable are the role of genetic or hereditary factors, and particularly in those affected by Down's syndrome, the chances of developing leukemia seems to be very high.

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Supplements and herbs

A person suffering from the various symptoms of leukemia will gain great benefit from the use of these supplements, and the various herbal remedies and other supplements given here will help support the overall health of the person and this will also boost the energy levels in a person suffering from leukemia. The diet of a person suffering from leukemia must contain wholesome foods and must be very rich in various essential nutrients as these all nutrients are extremely important for the person to fight off the various symptoms of the condition.

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Problems with the blood such as anemia is usually evident during leukemia in patients, therefore all supplements such as the entire B complex vitamins and a mineral like iron must be used as compulsory supplements to help build up the blood in the affected individual. These nutrients and minerals also serve as a vital source of energy at all times and help fight off physical fatigue which may be very persistent in all patients. A serious folic-acid deficiency can also result due to the various prescription medications used as a treatment for leukemia, supplements of the vitamin folic acid are necessary for all patients suffering from leukemia because of this reason. The organic form of the mineral iron is the best supplemental form of the mineral, as it is the easiest form to absorb and its presence in the body will not lead to the production of many unwanted side-effects associated with the use of various iron pills.

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Infections occurring within the body can be countered through supplements of the vitamin C, the vitamin also helps in the strengthening of the blood vessels and protects the person from various toxins present in the body and which are often an underlying cause or the real reason behind an incidence of leukemia in a person. The action and effectiveness of the vitamin C within the body is supported by co-supplements of the plant based natural substances called the bioflavonoids-these compounds must always be used in conjunction with the vitamin C to improve the performance of the vitamin within the body. The blood vessels can be strengthened by these supplements, which also prevent bleeding when used together in a single combined dose. The side effects of medications used during cases of leukemia can also be countered by the use of vitamin E; this vitamin can effectively reduce the intensity of all side effects arising as a result of prescription medication utilization over a long period of time. Cancer and its symptoms can also be moderated by supplements of both the vitamins C and E-these chemicals act in the prevention of all symptoms associated with cancer.

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Blood volume can also be increased by supplements of chlorella; this supplement has very high amounts of the compound chlorophyll enabling the recovery of the blood from the symptoms of leukemia. Cell renewal and restoration of cellular machinery is carried out by supplements of chlorella, this restoration using the supplement can have many beneficial effects for the individual. The immune system is enhanced at the same time and the chlorella is also very good at preventing cancerous growths within the same period of time. This supplement will also lead to the gradual detoxification of the blood. Supplements of the chlorella can be used for six weeks at a stretch by an individual suffering from leukemia.

The use of the various herbs and herbal remedies given here will serve as ideal supports to nutritional therapy carried out by the individual suffering from leukemia.

The body is protected from all types of infection causing organisms by supplements of the garlic, this herb also has an excellent anti-carcinogenic effect-the continued use of this remedy will help combat all opportunistic infections. Many people prefer the garlic in a capsule form as it produce less odor than other supplemental forms that use raw garlic. The herbal garlic remedy can be given to children age three to six, at a dosage rate of one capsule a day. Children aged between seven to eleven years can be given three capsules of the garlic supplement every day. In addition to these supplements a lot of patients have gained some benefit from drinking a herbal tea formula made using two tbsp. of the stinging nettle, one and a half tbsp. of the brooklime herb, two tbsp. of elder blossoms, a tbsp. tops of the St. John's wort herb, along with two tbsp. of the sweet woodruff herb, along with a tbsp. of the root extract of the dandelion, with two tbsp. of the calendula herb blossoms, two tbsp. of the yarrow herbal extract, two tbsp. of the celandine herb, one and a half tbsp. of the wormwood, two tbsp. of the meadowsweet herb. These herbs must be mixed thoroughly and a heaped tsp. of this herbal mixture, can be steeped for about five minutes in one cup of boiling water, once the herbs have been steeped well in the water, strain the herbal tea and slowly sip two cups of this tea throughout the day as a herbal remedy against many of the symptoms evident during the condition. The herbal tea can also be fortified with the addition of a tbsp. of the Swedish bitters herbs proportional to every half cup of the herbal combination tea, this herbal combination tea along with the Swedish bitters should be consumed before and after every one of the three daily meals eaten by the individual. Problems in the spleen can be healed by drinking a cup of an herbal tea made from the calamus; this herb is a very effective remedy against all types of spleen disorders. This herbal tea can be prepared by soaking a tsp. of calamus root extract for a period of twelve hours in some cold water. After the herb has been thoroughly soaked, the liquid can be gently warmed, strained and then used. A total of six sips of this herb can be taken everyday, one sip before and after each of the three daily meals. It is suggested that patients should not drink more than a cup of this herbal tea per day at any given stage of herbal supplementation. Two or three times every day, topical applications of heated horsetail herbal packs can be applied on the abdominal region on the area overlying the liver and the spleen-this will prove to be a very effective direct external treatment against problems in the vital organs. Use a compress made from the Swedish bitters as an alternative topical application. The abdominal area overlying the liver and the spleen can be rubbed using a calendula cream to prevent the skin drying from the effects of continuous alcohol abuse, after the calendula cream has been applied, use a cotton ball dipped in Swedish bitters to cleanse the area and rub this on the skin. Use a dry cotton towel to cover the area and then use a plastic sheet to retain warmth in the area of skin-this will also prevent staining of linens and underwear from the use of herbs. Keep warm by wrapping a large towel around the body-leave this towel on the body for four hours after all treatments have been undertaken for the day.

Additional things you may do

The importance of regular participation in physical exercise out of doors cannot be over-emphasized to maintain health and all patients must also take part in regular deep breathing exercises to strengthen the body's natural defense system. Mental toughness and a fighting spirit in the person will prove to be of immense value in recovery from leukemia and though leukemia is a very serious illness which can prove to be lethal-psychologically strong patients almost always deal with it better and recover more often than other patients. All patients suffering from leukemia must be emotionally supported by friends and family or well wishers. Patients with leukemia must not stay near areas where they are likely to be exposed to microwave radiation such as ovens or near other sources of radiation like television sets computer terminals and other electrical appliances with dangerous electromagnetic emissions or radiations-such an exposure aggravated the condition and hinders the pace of recovery for the patient concerned.

Usual dosage

  • Vitamin C, with bioflavonoids, age 3 - 6, 150 mg; age 7 - 11, 300 mg.
  • B vitamin complex, two capsules.
  • Vitamin E, age 3 - 6, 15 IU; age 7 - 11, 25 IU.
  • Iron, age 3 - 6, one tsp.; age 7 - 11, two tsp.
  • Chlorella, age 3 - 6, one capsule; age 7 - 11, two capsules.

Other beneficial herbs

Types of leukemia

Leukemia is classified into four major types and these are: 1. Acute lymphocytic leukemia or ALL, 2. Acute myeloid leukemia or AML, 3. Chronic lymphocytic leukemia or CLL, and 4. Chronic myeloid leukemia or CML.

Acute leukamias generally appear suddenly and affect the person abruptly without warning, thus this term acute is applied to all such cases of leukemia. Moreover such leukamias are characterized by the production of a very large number of immature and undifferentiated cells, this production of cells can go haywire and if the condition is left untreated, the death of the patient can be the end result-such acute cases are very rapid in their appearance of symptoms and in their effects. Leukamias that develop over a long period of time come under the term chronic, the growth of the disorder is much slower and the symptoms are less dramatically felt, individuals affected by this form of leukamias can thus expect to lead much longer lives, even without any treatment. These two terms acute and chronic are broad generalizations and it is necessary to treat them as such, the effects of leukemia may differ from one person to another and treatment will need to be tailored to individual needs and symptoms.

Acute lymphoblastic leukemia
The form of leukemia known as acute lymphoblastic leukemia begins very abruptly, this form of leukemia is a cancer that affects the lymphocytes and the progression of the disease is very rapid in all affected unlucky enough to be affected by this form of the condition. Though occasionally affecting some adults, children are the demographic group that is most likely to be affected with ALL. Depending on the appearance of the leukemic or blast cells-these are imperfectly developed cells, the acute lymphoblastic leukemia can be again divided into three sub-types. The various subtypes of ALL are subtype L1-this mostly affects children and is common in children, subtype L2 is very commonly seen in adults and the subtype L3, is the most aggressively progressive disease, and is also called Burkitt's like Leukemia affecting both children and adults. The many treatment methodologies used for patents suffering from ALL is a long and complicated process. A remission is induced in the body of the affected individual using multiple chemotherapeutic medication during the therapeutic stage known as induction chemotherapy-remission can be defined as a complete or partial disappearance of the physical signs and related symptoms of cancer within the body of the affected individual. This initial phase is followed by the stage known as intensification chemotherapy, where much more effective chemotherapy medications is utilized to bring about complete healing and recovery from the cancer. The second phase of therapy is to ensure that any cells affected by the leukemia which were missed during induction chemotherapy are eliminated and removed thoroughly from the body of the affected individual. ALL is considered very dangerous as the cerebrospinal fluid is often invaded by the ALL affected cells; this creates complications as it becomes therapeutically necessary to treat the affected spinal fluid either by removing it or through the use of acute lymphoblastic leukemia medications which must be injected into the cerebrospinal fluid through a lumbar puncture. This acute lymphoblastic leukemia medication is also often injected into the cerebrospinal fluid through the use of a device inserted into the brain called an "Ommaya reservoir" as a part of the complicated technique. A further two years of full time medication and treatment may be needed by patients even after a complete remission is achieved from the ALL. This timeframe is usually the minimum for patients who have shown any signs of remission.
Approximately seventy five percent of all patients can recover from childhood cases of acute lymphoblastic leukemia; this remission rate is very high for patients affected with any form of cancer. Though the cure rate for adult affected by ALL has been steadily rising over the years, the remission rate for adult acute lymphoblastic leukemia patients is still not quite as good comparing it to the remission rates seen in children affected by ALL. In addition, an unfortunate subgroup of patients affected by acute lymphoblastic leukemia suffer from a very bad prognosis, this subgroup of patients is composed of individuals possessing the Philadelphia chromosome in the cells affected by the leukemia. A bone marrow transplant is usually required by such patients to have any hope at achieving a cure from the leukemia. Using chemotherapy alone, in all adult acute lymphoblastic leukemia patients who are not affected by the Philadelphia chromosome in their cancer cells, the cure rate is about forty percent. All such adults affected by acute lymphoblastic leukemia, already on chemotherapy have also been increasingly shown by scientific evidence to have a better chance of recovery with the addition of a bone marrow transplantation surgery along with the chemotherapy.
Acute myeloid leukemia
Only adults are usually affected by the form of leukemia known as acute myeloid leukemia. Older individuals are at a greater risk of developing the condition as the chances of an incidence increases as an individual ages; moreover many patients develop AML while undergoing treatment to treat other cancers that have already affected the body. The condition comes along with many obvious and apparent symptoms such as physical fatigue, fever, and all types of infection, along with bleeding-these symptoms strike suddenly and the condition itself is very abrupt in its appearance. It is lethal if left untreated, for any significant length of time. Complete remission is fortunately very easy to realize with appropriate and timely treatment using chemotherapy, many medications are extremely effective in dealing with this form of leukemia. All affected patients must be placed under therapy as soon as it is possible within a hospital setting- it is recommended that treatment be started as soon as the disease is diagnosed in an individual by a competent medical doctor. While older individuals tend to have a less favorable remission rate compared to younger patients, full and complete remissions, which means a total absence of the disease can be observed in at least 50% to 80% of all patients who undergo chemotherapy. A definition has been set up for the various subtypes of this form of leukemia and according to the French American British system; acute myeloid leukemia can be divided into eight subtypes labeled M0 through M7. The treatment methodology for one of the subtypes, namely M3, is slightly different and individuals affected by this subtype are treated using a combination of chemotherapy and the use of a differentiating agent called all-trans-retinoic acid or ATRA in short. The treatment methodology of the other six subtypes is fairly similar and consistent in the manner and techniques used. Treatment begins with the phase called induction chemotherapy, which is simply initial use of drugs in chemotherapy, the drug used during this phase of the treatment is usually a compound called cytosine arabinoside along with one other medication-these two drugs are used to induce remission in the cancer. Remission achieved on an initial basis is followed by other stages of chemotherapy to bring consolidation in the patients condition using repeated cycles of chemotherapy, this stage must also be pursued, as the majority of patients will sink into a relapse-they will experience a reappearance of cancer after an initial disease-free period; thus consolidation is done by repeated doses of the two primary drugs used during induction chemotherapy. The period of consolidation thus includes the use of more drugs in chemotherapy; these are administered to the patients in a cyclic manner, about two times at approximately monthly intervals between cycles. Stem cell transplantation is also often used during the stage of consolidation and this will include both types of transplantation-the first one known as autologous stem cell transplantation utilizes cells from the patient's own body in the treatment and the second type of allogeneic stem cell transplantation is one where cells from another person's body are utilized in the treatment. Unfortunately, cure rates for patients affected by acute myeloid leukemia is only about 25% of all patients and this is quite a low recovery rate. Recovery of some subgroups is better, subgroups are defined as patients belonging to a particular age group, and patients who have certain prognostic factors indicating positive recovery, the exact nature of the treatment used on a patient can also determine how he or she copes with the disease.
Chronic myeloid leukemia
Adults are the demographic group primarily affected by the form of leukemia known as chronic myeloid leukemia-that is, the incidence of this disease is rare in children and younger individuals. A high platelet count and a high white blood cell count are the two symptoms typically manifested in the bodies of individuals affected by the chronic myeloid leukemia. Before the sudden rise in white blood cells, symptoms of the disease are rare and for this reason it is often diagnosed by chance, as such it is a chronic disorder, gradual and slow in its evolution process, the disease does not produce many significant symptoms through which it might otherwise be easily detected. All cases of the chronic myeloid leukemia evolve into other severe phases over a period of time, thus the disease progresses to an aggressive first phase often called the accelerated phase, this goes on to the worst phase known as blastic crisis over time. The inability of white blood cells within the body to differentiate into different cell types results in the blastic crisis, this tendency of cells affected by the chronic myeloid leukemia results in serious complications for the affected individual. The severity of this phase of the disease is similar to an acute attack of leukemia. During this phase the cells in the body of the affected individual behave like cells in the body of a person with the acute form of myeloid leukemia. All the cells show rapid growth suddenly, and they begin to replace all the normal bone marrow cells within the body of the affected person, this leads to a very low platelet count and the population of normal red blood cells dives down abruptly without warning. Treatment methodologies similar to those used during acute myeloid leukemia are required for patients in this phase of chronic myeloid leukemia. The prognosis of patients affected by this phase of chronic myeloid leukemia is actually worse than the prognosis of those suffering from an acute myeloid leukemia disorder. If a remission is achieved at this phase and once the almost acute like phase has passed without further complications, all patients must seriously consider a bone marrow transplant for further recovery and improvement in the condition.
There is a revolution in the treatment methodologies used for treating patients with the chronic myeloid leukemia - a lot of new treatment methodologies are being investigated for use with patients. The normal method of treatment of patients previously involved the use of an oral hydroxyurea for short periods of time in order to reduce the population of white blood cells in the body; some patients also received interferon alpha treatment as a part of chemotherapy. During the first phase of the disease, techniques such as bone marrow transplantation was the most frequently used method for the majority of patients, this transplantation is usually done during the chronic phase to bring about a remission in the condition of the patient, until these new treatment methodologies replace the older forms of treatment, bone marrow transplantation techniques will still be considered as the only existing curative treatment for the condition. These new treatment methods are in the trial phase.
Chronic lymphocytic leukemia
This form of leukemia known as chronic lymphocytic leukemia affects only adults and this demographic group is the exclusive preserve of the condition. Patients under the age of forty are very rarely diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia; the majority of all patients diagnosed with this form of leukemia are individual who have crossed sixty years of age. The evolution of this disease is gradual and symptoms are slow in appearing, the blood shows a gradual and slow increase in the populations lymphocytes, as the disorder progresses slowly the lymphocyte count in the lymph nodes and the spleen also begins to rise eventually. The disease is characterized by a progressive accumulation of these abnormal and harmless lymphocytes within the body of the affected individual. However, the condition starts to resemble other types of leukemias, in that the proliferation of the lymphocytes begins to become a problem, as the explosive growth of these cells begins to significantly suppresses the growth of other normal blood cells.
There is an evolutionary advance in the treatment of chronic lymphocytic leukemia as well, indicated by the introduction of a number of new medications specifically designed to combat this form of leukemia. The use of oral chemotherapy on patients is being tried out, and there is a possibility that an intravenous agent known as fludarabine will also be available in the near future for patients affected by the condition. Gene therapy and biological therapy that also utilizes monoclonal antibodies techniques is stated to be introduced in the possible treatment for patients affected with chronic lymphocytic leukemia. The possibility of bone marrow transplantation in some patients with chronic myeloid leukemia is also being investigated, this method can possibly be an effective cure for chronic lymphocytic leukemia at least in some patients, though the number of patients who will benefit by the use of this technique is rather limited, only the comparatively younger patients who have suitable donors may benefit in the end.

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