Sunday, July 22, 2012

Waldenstrom's Macroglobulinemia - A Very Scarce Disease

Waldenstrom's Macroglobulinemia is a cancer that is named for Jan Waldenstrom, the Scandinavian Doctor who first discovered and learnt about the disease in the early 1940's. The type of cancer is non-Hodgkin Lymphoma and it is a very rare disease with some papers stating numbers of between 1000 & 1600 diagnosed cases of Waldenstrom's occurring in America every year.

what causes Waldenstrom's Macroglobulinemia like many other cancers is unknown although it is believed that a change in DNA could be a cause. In spite of this lack of certainty on the causes of Waldenstrom's there are thought to be factors which increase the likelihood of developing the disease. the majority of cases of waldenstroms macroglobulinemia occur in those over the age of 50 and the average age of occurrence is 61. Incidence of the disease is almost twice as much in men than women. The condition is also inherited which means that those with family who have Waldenstrom's or a type of lymphatic cancer are more likely to contract the condition.

An first diagnosis of Waldenstrom's is complex because there is usually an absence of symptoms early on. Usually the first indication of Waldenstrom's comes from routine examinations showing atypical results. These irregular results could be a high level of Igm within the blood stream or hyper viscosity which is another indication of the illness. Diagnosis could also be made if swollen lymph nodes are found. This is the same as if a Bigger than usual Spleen or liver is discovered. A bone marrow biopsy can also be used to diagnose Waldenstrom's Macroglobulinemia.

Waldenstrom's forecast is very diverse between victims. Because the disease is very unfrequent there has not been a huge amount of research to estimate the correct survival rates of victims with the ailment. The International Prognostic Scoring System for Waldenstrom's Macroglobulinemia aims to assess the long term impact of Waldenstrom's. Five to nine years is the generally accepted survival period of those that have been diagnosed with Waldenstrom's although owing to that there are very few initial symptoms, some sufferers can live with the disease for a number of years before getting diagnosed.

The sign of illness or problem of Waldenstrom's Macroglobulinemia start in the white blood cells. They cause these blood cells to become abnormal and they enlarge within the organs or bone marrow like the spleen/liver. These abnormal white blood cells compound and therefore reduce the amount of other blood cells such as the red blood cells. When people have a low level of red blood cells they suffer from anaemia which causes them to feel drained and weak. Waldenstrom's also reduces the amount of healthy white blood cells which reduces the bodies ability to fight off flu, germs and other infection. These symptoms are often not seen in the early stages of Waldenstrom's with most symptoms not becoming apparent until the illness is reasonably advanced.

In the advanced stages of the illness, symptoms are varied between sufferers. A lot of the symptoms are the same as those of other non-Hodgkin lymphomas which include, swollen lymph nodes, fever, tiredness and weight loss, enlarged lymph nodes, fevers, fatigue and weight loss, enlarged lymph nodes, fevers, tiredness and loss of weight and swollen lymph nodes, fevers, fatigue and weight loss, tiredness, weight loss and enlarged lymph nodes, fevers, tiredness and weight loss lymph nodes lymph nodes.

Another symptom is hyper-viscosity or clotting of the blood which occurs because Waldenstrom's causes an overproduction of Igm. This thickening of the blood causes issues with both circulation and the nervous system. If circulation to the brain is affected which may cause symptoms similar to a stroke. Circulation problems can also lead to Raynaud's phenomenon which causes a tightening of blood vessels which delays the movement of blood throughout the body. This can cause circulation to the extremities of the human being, the hands and feet, to get cut off.

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