Macroglobulinemia also called Waldenstrom’s macroglobulinemia or WM is a cancer affecting the B cell of the lymphocytes. Discovered by a Swedish oncologist, Jan G. Waldenstrom in 1944. Macroglobulinemia is also called Waldenstrom.
The lymphocytes are an important part of the immune system. They are the ones attacking and killing germs in the body preventing infections. Lymphocytes are the primary cells found in the lymphoid tissues and are located in several parts of the body such as the bone marrow, the spleen, lymph nodes and all other systems in the body. There are two types of lymphocytes: the B cells, which responds to infection by changing into plasma cells and the T cells, also helps in killing invading germs directly but its main function is to help direct immune response.
Macroglobulinemia is a cancer starting in the B cells. As mentioned above, the B cells, after responding to an infection, will change into plasma cells which will produce antibodies to attack and kill the germs. In macroglobulinemia, the plasma cells produce too much antibody called immunoglobulin M of IgM, called macroglobulin. The buildup of macroglobulin in the body can lead to many symptoms of macroglobulinemia.
The symptoms of macroglobulinemia can be like those seen in the Non-Hodgkin lymphoma and multiple myeloma. While other symptom arises from the overproduction of IgM antibody made the cancer cells.
- Hyperviscosity Syndrome
Since there is too much IgM or M protein in the blood, it will thicken and become viscous. But take note this disorder is not treatable with blood thinners. If the blood gets too thick, it will be difficult for the blood to move through blood vessels.
This is due to anemia. Because of the abnormal growth of B cells in the bone marrow, it will overcrowd other normal cells such as the red blood cells.
- Loss of appetite
- fever, sweats, and weight loss
This three are the most common sign of macroglobulinemia which is called B symptoms.
This is a condition where the nerves outside the brain are attacked by the abnormal antibodies. This condition can lead to numbness or painful sensation in the feet and legs.
If you think you are suffering from Macroglobulinemia you should seek medical assistance. You may also be entitled to Social Security Disability Benefits. The SSA considered Macroglobulinemia as a medical condition that would make you eligible for SSDI and SSI. Social Security Administration (SSA) maintains a “Listing of Medical Impairments” (known as the blue book) that automatically qualify you for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).