One of the main symptoms of lymphoma is a problem regulating temperature. The body switches back and forth from fever and chills to excessive sweating. The sweating is the worst at nighttime; and many patients complain of waking up in the middle of the night to clothing and bedding that is completely drenched. This is believed to be caused by the overactive immune system trying to rid the body of toxins.
It’s important to note, that before you get too overly concerned with night sweats, check the temperature of your bed room. Are you covering yourself up with too much bedding at night? Perhaps you are over-dressed with heavy pajamas? While night sweats are closely linked to lymphoma, they can also be a warning sign for other illnesses and conditions, such as menopause, and bacterial infections.
As mentioned above, there are two main types of lymphoma: Hodgkin’s lymphoma and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. About 15 percent of all non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in America, are T-cell lymphomas – and the most common form of this type of lymphoma is cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL), which targets the skin.
As the lymphoma cells grow, they secrete a chemical that causes a generalized itchiness and irritation of the skin throughout the body. This chemical by-product may also produce small red bumps on the skin outside of the body where the lymphoma is located. The skin lesions are particularly itchy and may not respond well to typical over-the-counter medicine used to treat itching. Symptoms may start off as dry skin, and then turn into an itchy, unbearable rash.
Lymphoma can leave patients feeling out of breath even with minimal activity. There can be several different causes for this, but all are due to crowding of the respiratory system. As the lymph nodes increase in size, those with lymphoma are no longer able to take in full, deep breaths. This inability for proper oxygenation is compounded if the lymphoma starts in the thymus; it may press on the trachea, causing, even more, difficulty breathing. This lack of proper oxygenation only adds to the already prevalent fatigue. This symptom makes daily exercise, or even the simplest task of a lighting cleaning in one’s house, exhausting.
Even though lymphoma can cause you to lose weight, if it is located near the abdomen, it will make the stomach appear swollen. This is related to both the enlarged lymph nodes and a build-up of large amounts of fluid in the abdomen. The abdomen will also become increasingly tender. Additional symptoms that are related to abdominal swelling including a feeling of pressure in that area, pain, as well as indigestion, and potentially diarrhea.
A loss of weight combined with an increase in the circumference of the abdomen does not just occur in lymphoma, but it definitely signifies a serious health problem and need for further medical assessment to determine the cause.
Lymphoma affects the amount red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets in the body. The low white blood cell count associated with lymphoma attacks one’s immune system, and leaves the body helpless, and incapable of fighting off infection. Bacteria that the body could normally defend itself against is no longer strong enough to battle infections, and a lymphoma sufferer is now susceptible to anything from the common cold, to severe illnesses.
It is important that lymphoma patients avoid contact with any possible contaminants that could lead to future illness. Hand-in-hand with the weight loss, fatigue, and compromised immune system, an illness can be a death sentence for a sufferer of lymphoma.