I'm a 16 y/o male, and I've been frequenting the boards for a while. I guess you can say I worry about stuff a lot.
Just yesterday, I looked at my legs and noticed there were tiny pin-point red dots. I'm not sure if these are petechiae. They don't fade when I push down on them. I looked at pictures of petechiae and I'm not sure if mine are. Mine are tiny red dots no bigger than a millimeter across, and there are several of them that are close to each other, and then others that are scattered in the general area. In the pictures I've seen, the petechiae looked more like pinpoint blotches instead of dots, and they were closely grouped with the skin around them being purplish.
I was worried about these because I read that petechiae can be an initial symptom of leukemia. I went to the doctor last year for swollen lymph nodes, which he concluded were post-reactive. No biopsy of the nodes were done. My CBC w/ dif. from last year (last January) was normal. I've also been to a neurologist for symptoms like muscle twitches, aches, and fatigue. I've had the aches and fatigues for awhile (couple of years), but now I'm starting to wonder.
Petechiae is just a condition of small blood capillaries that are leaking into the skin. This condition can occur when you have chapped skin, have been wearing tight jeans that scrub your skin, or of course have certain blood disorders. However, it is usually not the only symptom of blood cancer. If you have been tired for a long time, you might have a viral infection. Anemia will cause Petechiae as well.
Leukemia in young people usually has symptoms such as swollen lymph nodes, bloody noses, and of course fatigue. Unfortunately, a CBC does not usually reflect the condition of Leukemia unless the white blood cell count is out of sight which is values above 25, 000. Normal is some where between 4-10. High white cell counts clues the doctor to look for blood cancers. If you continue to feel tired, see your doctor.
Thank you for your response Marimac. I have some further questions if you don't mind answering. Tonight, I just discovered some swollen lymph nodes that were not there before. I found one on the left side of my neck. It's soft, and hurts a little bit if I push on it. Another one I found is in my left armpit. Its slightly long shaped, and also feels painful if I push on it. I'm not sure what to make of this. I've had a lymphoma scare in the past, which the doctor concluded were post-reactive. Now with the addition of these new nodes, and the petechiae on my legs, I'm not sure what to think. I am still getting over a cold I had for the past week, can this can something to do with the apperance of these new nodes? How can you tell the difference between cancerous (leukemia/lymphoma) nodes and nodes reacting to infection? What do you recommend I do at this point? I'm really worried about this.
The rule of thumb is that if your cold is no longer symptomatic and it has been longer than 2 weeks, you need to see your doctor for follow up. This is about one month -6 weeks waiting time between symptoms and check up. If you are concerned, see your doctor before then for your own peace of mind.
One more thing..and anyone can answer, but, are petechiae/bruising usually the initial symptoms of leukemia? Or do they come later in the course of the disease? Over the next weeks I will be monitoring the possible petechiae on my legs as well as the lymph node swelling. Does this sound like a safe course of action?