Disease at a Glance

Summary
Gamma heavy chain disease affects the growth of cells in the immune system. People with this disease make an abnormal form of the gamma heavy chain, a protein used to make antibodies. This abnormal protein is overproduced by the body and can lead to abnormal cell growth. Gamma heavy chain disease mainly affects older adults with symptoms that may include swollen lymph nodes, an enlarged liver and spleen, and anemia. Some people with Gamma heavy chain disease have no symptoms, while others have many symptoms and can develop an aggressive form of lymphoma. The cause of Gamma heavy chain disease is unknown, but about one-third of people with this condition have an autoimmune disease. Diagnosis is based on finding high levels of gamma heavy chain in the blood, urine, and bone marrow. Gamma heavy chain disease is one of three different types of heavy chain disease.
Estimated Number of People with this Disease
In the U.S., this disease is estimated to be fewer than

1,000

What Information Does GARD Have For This Disease?

Many rare diseases have limited information. Currently GARD is able to provide the following information for this disease:

*Data may be currently unavailable to GARD at this time.
When do symptoms of this disease begin?
The most common ages for symptoms of a disease to begin is called age of onset. Age of onset can vary for different diseases and may be used by a doctor to determine the diagnosis. For some diseases, symptoms may begin in a single age range or several age ranges. For other diseases, symptoms may begin any time during a person's life.
Prenatal
Before Birth
Newborn
Birth-4 weeks
Infant
1-23 months
Child
2-11 years
Adolescent
12-18 years
Adult Selected
19-65 years
Older Adult
65+ years
The common ages for symptoms to begin in this disease are shown above by the colored icon(s).

Symptoms

These symptoms may be different from person to person. Some people may have more symptoms than others and symptoms can range from mild to severe. This list does not include every symptom.
This disease might cause these symptoms:
Blood and Blood-Forming Tissue

19 Symptoms

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Blood and Blood-Forming Tissue

The blood and blood-forming tissue includes plasma, red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets, and bone marrow. Common symptoms of problems with the blood or blood forming tissue include fatigue, weakness, shortness of breath, fever, abnormal bleeding, headache, or bruising easily. Diseases of the blood may be diagnosed and treated by a hematologist.

Causes

This section is currently in development. 

Last Updated: Nov. 8, 2021