There are different types of white blood cells. B-cells are one type. B-cells develop in your bone marrow and turn into plasma cells. These plasma cells then produce antibodies, which help fight infection.
In people with WM, B-cells develop incorrectly. These abnormal B-cells, called ‘lymphoplasmacytic cells’ or LPL cells, can’t do their job properly in fighting infection.
The abnormal cells build up over time and may crowd out the healthy red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. You may start to feel symptoms – like tiredness, bruising easily or getting recurrent infections – because your body now doesn’t have the resources of healthy cells to carry enough oxygen around your body (red blood cells), fight infections (white blood cells) and heal from bumps and cuts (platelets).
LPL cells may gather in the lymph nodes – also known as glands – and you might experience swollen tissue or lumps in these areas (like the neck, under the arms, or groin), but this isn’t common in people with WM.