Rishi Kapoor death: What disease was the actor suffering from?

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Veteran Bollywood actor Rishi Kapoor passed away on Thursday after a long battle with leukaemia. The actor was admitted to Sir HN Reliance Foundation Hospital on Wednesday night. He was 67.

“Our dear Rishi Kapoor passed away peacefully at 8:45am IST in hospital today after a two-year battle with leukaemia. The doctors and medical staff at the hospital said he kept them entertained to the last,” read a statement from Rishi Kapoor’s family.

Rishi Kapoor, the romantic star of many Bollywood films was diagnosed with leukaemia in 2018. Rishi returned to India last September after undergoing treatment for his cancer in the US for almost a year. In February, he was hospitalised twice.

He was first admitted to a hospital in Delhi where he was attending a family function. At the time, he had said he was suffering from an “infection”. After his return to Mumbai, he was again admitted to a hospital with viral fever. He was discharged soon after.

So what exactly is leukaemia? It is a type of blood cancer in which the ability of your bone marrow to produce normal blood cells is compromised. It is caused due to the rise in the number of white blood cells (WBCs) in the body.

Rapidly developing, abnormal white blood cells crowd out healthy white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets and prevent them from being replenished or functioning properly.

Leukaemia lowers your power to fight infections, reduces circulating oxygen throughout your body and decreases your ability to prevent bleeding. Without treatment, leukaemia can spread and invade organs throughout the body, and it can be fatal. However, with treatment, many patients with leukaemia achieve remission – they do not have any signs or symptoms of leukaemia.

There are four types of leukaemia: Acute lymphocytic leukaemia, Acute myelogenous leukaemia, Chronic lymphocytic leukaemia and Chronic myelogenous leukaemia. The symptoms vary, depending on the type of leukaemia. Common signs and symptoms are: Fever or chills, persistent fatigue, weakness, frequent or severe infections, weight loss even without trying, swollen lymph nodes or organs like spleen, easy bleeding or bruising, recurrent nosebleeds, shortness of breath and night sweats.

Treatment is based on age and overall health, the type of leukaemia one is diagnosed with and whether it has spread to other parts of the body. Common treatments used to fight leukaemia include: Chemotherapy, biological therapy, targeted therapy, radiation therapy and stem cell transplant in which doctors replace diseased bone marrow with healthy bone marrow.

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