How to mitigate the side effects of Acute Myeloid Leukaemia

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Closed stomach, lack of appetite and anorexia

Decreased appetite. It is advisable to have smaller portions and eat more frequently.

Disgruntled person sticking out tongue due to taste disturbance

Altered taste buds. Chemotherapy usually results in a metallic after-taste, so it is advisable to add lemon to meals and drinks if you notice a sweet, salty or bland taste.

Cigarette crossed out on a "no smoking" poster

Toxic habits. For smokers, it is very important to give up, because tobacco worsens the side effects of treatments, including a loss of appetite and impact on lung function.

Food pyramid

Nutrition. Depending on the type, intensity and phase of treatment the medical and nursing team provide information on whether to restrict some types of food. Normally, during the inpatient phase, when intensive chemotherapy treatment is being received, patients are advised to follow a low bacterial diet. In other situations a balanced diet is recommended.

Person seated cross-legged in yoga pose

Exercise. Gentle exercise is an important part of a person’s healthy lifestyle. Staying physically active during and after the treatment helps reduce anxiety, improve self-esteem, and strengthen the muscle mass. Unless directed otherwise by the medical team, it is advisable to do as much gentle physical activity as possible.

Symbol of man and woman

Sexual relations. Sexual intercourse is possible as long as the patient’s condition allows it. Despite the fact that the treatment reduces the chance of getting pregnant, precautions must be taken to avoid pregnancies in this period.. The patient should consult the medical and nursing team if they have any doubts in this regard.

Person touching another person's back, emotional support

Emotional Support. In some centres, patients and family members can be treated by specialists in psychology. There are also various support groups whose members have gone through similar situations and which help both patients and their families face this difficult time.

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Substantiated information by:

Laia Guardia Roca
Marina Díaz Beyá

Published: 8 April 2019
Updated: 8 April 2019

The donations that can be done through this webpage are exclusively for the benefit of Hospital Clínic of Barcelona through Fundació Clínic per a la Recerca Biomèdica and not for BBVA Foundation, entity that collaborates with the project of PortalClínic.


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