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Leukaemia - Essay Example

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Leukaemia is a cancer of the tissues that produce blood cells, the bone marrow and the lymph system, and this results in production of abnormal blood cells. Leukaemia literally means "White blood" in Greek and gets its name from the presence of abnormal and immature leukocytes in the blood which, in sufficiently large quantities, may give the blood of the affected person a whitish tinge…
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Download file to see previous pages Red Blood Cells (Erythrocytes) - The RBCs are the most numerous of the blood cells and function primarily as carriers of oxygen from lungs to body cells and carbon dioxide from body cells to lungs. They are assisted in this gas exchange by haemoglobin, an iron-rich protein.
White Blood Cells (Leukocytes) - WBCs are less numerous than RBCs and are the most essential part of the body's immune system. They assist in fighting invasion by foreign bodies like bacteria, fungi and viruses. Different types of WBCs have different roles in fighting different types of invasion. At a time when the body is under attack by disease-causing cells extra WBCs are produced and when the germs have been subdued the WBC levels return to normal. The different kinds of WBCs are:
Monocytes - These are also called macrophages as they are larger than normal cells and engulf other cells and consume them. They attack germ ce4ls, clean up after other WBCs have done their jobs and consume dying cells of the body thus keeping the body clean of debris.
Lymphocytes - These are the smallest WBCs and they fight viral diseases as well as assist in the destruction of parasites, fungi and bacteria. The cells have markers on their surfaces to signify whether the particular cell is a natural killer (NK), T-cell (thymus-derived cell) or B-cell (bone marrow derived cell), and if a B-cell, what antibodies it expresses. The B-cells produce antibodies that are proteins, called immunoglobulins, in response to invasion by specific foreign substances called antigens. The antibodies attach themselves to the foreign substances and assist in their destruction. The T-cells are the body's main response to virus attacks and produce chemicals that help regulate the body's overall immune response. They help the B-cells to produce antibodies and they control the activities of other WBCs. They are continually in the bone marrow and lymph nodes and are also grown in the spleen.
Granulocytes - These are main defensive mechanisms against infection-causing agents like bacteria that they destroy with chemicals. There are three main types of granulocytes:
Neutrophils - These are infection-fighting cells that carry granules of bacteria-killing enzymes. When the neutrophil in the body is low there is higher potential to bacteria-led infections.
Basophils - These are the least understood of the WBCs but they are understood to be associated with allergic reactions like asthma and reactions to certain drugs.
Eosinophils - These defend the body against parasites and also are involved in allergic reactions, specifically what are known as delayed hypersensitivity reactions.
Platelets (Thrombocytes) - These are the smallest elements in the bloodstream and are responsible for clotting of blood that is essentially the body's defence against excessive bleeding from cuts and ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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