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Macroglobulinemia of Waldenstrom

  • Alternative Names

    Waldenstrom's macroglobulinemia; Macroglobulinemia - primary; Lymphoplasmacytic lymphoma

    • Bleeding of the gums
    • Blurred or decreased vision
    • Dizziness
    • Easy bruising of the skin
    • Fatigue
    • Headache
    • Mental status changes
    • Nosebleeds
    • Numbness, tingling, or burning pain in the hands, feet, fingers, toes, ears, or nose
    • Rash
    • Unintentional weight loss
    • Vision loss in one eye

    Additional symptoms that may be associated with this disease:

    • Bluish skin discoloration
    • Fingers that change color upon pressure
    • Flank pain
    • Swollen glands

    Signs and tests

    A physical examination may reveal a swollen spleen, liver, and lymph nodes. An eye exam may show enlarged veins in the retina or retinal bleeding (hemorrhages).

    A CBC shows a low number of red blood cells and platelets. A blood chemistry shows evidence of kidney disease. A serum viscosity test can tell if the blood has become thick. Symptoms usually occur when the blood is four times thicker than normal.

    A test called serum protein electrophoresis shows an increased amount of the IgM antibody. Levels seen in Waldenstrom's macroglobulinemia are generally greater than 3 g/dL.

    Bone lesions are very rare. If they are present, a bone marrow examination will show cells that resemble both lymphocytes and plasma cells.

    Additional tests that may be done:

    • 24-hour urine protein
    • Total protein
    • Serum globulin electrophoresis
    • Immunofixation in urine
    • T (thymus derived) lymphocyte count