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Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia

  • Overview


    Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia (mak-roe-glob-u-lih-NEE-me-uh) is a rare form of cancer originating in the white blood cells.

    In this condition, your bone marrow generates an excess of abnormal white blood cells, displacing healthy blood cells. These abnormal cells also generate a protein that builds up in the bloodstream, hampering circulation and giving rise to complications.

    Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia falls under the category of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and is occasionally referred to as lymphoplasmacytic lymphoma.

  • Symptoms


    Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia typically progresses slowly and might not manifest signs or symptoms for an extended period.

    However, when symptoms do appear, they can encompass:

    • Easily bruised skin
    • Bleeding from the gums or nose
    • Fatigue
    • Unintentional weight loss
    • Numbness in the extremities
    • Fever
    • Headaches
    • Breathlessness
    • Alterations in vision
    • Cognitive confusion
  • When to see a doctor


    Abnormal symptoms may be a warning sign of potential dangerous diseases. Please contact our team of doctors immediately for detailed advice and update the most accurate and appropriate health care method.

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  • Causes


    The precise cause of Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia remains uncertain.

    Medical experts understand that the disorder initiates with a single anomalous white blood cell, which undergoes genetic mutations leading to errors. These mutations instruct the cell to undergo rapid and unchecked multiplication.

    Unlike normal cells, cancer cells do not mature and expire. Instead, they accumulate, eventually overpowering the generation of healthy cells. Within the bone marrow, the soft and blood-forming tissue found in the core of most bones, Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia cells outcompete healthy blood cells.

    While attempting to produce antibodies like regular white blood cells, Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia cells generate abnormal proteins unsuitable for the body’s use. This accumulation of the immunoglobulin M (IgM) protein in the bloodstream hampers circulation and leads to complications.

  • Risk factors


    Factors that may heighten your susceptibility to Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia comprise:

    • Advanced age: Although Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia can manifest at any age, its diagnosis is most common in individuals aged 65 and above.
    • Male gender: Males exhibit a higher likelihood of being diagnosed with Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia.
    • Ethnicity: White individuals have an elevated likelihood of developing the condition in comparison to individuals of other racial backgrounds.
    • Familial lymphoma history: An augmented risk may be present if you possess a family history of Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia or other forms of B-cell lymphoma.
  • Prevention


    This condition is primarily a result of genetic mutations in white blood cells, and its development is not directly linked to lifestyle or environmental factors. Regular medical check-ups and early detection can help manage the disease’s progression and associated complications. If you have a family history of Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia or other lymphomas, discussing your risk with a healthcare professional may lead to proactive monitoring and prompt intervention if needed.

  • *Please note that the information provided in the article is for reference purposes only. It is essential to consult a doctor before applying any of the suggestions mentioned.

Content Details

Medical info from Mayo Clinic, for reference only. Visit Hoan My for better advice.

Last updated on: 07/08/2023