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Castleman disease (CD) refers to a group of rare diseases that affect lymph nodes and lymphatic tissue. The lymphatic system helps your body fight germs by filtering bacteria, viruses, and waste from the bloodstream. It is part of the body's disease-fighting system (immune system).
Lymph nodes are tissues that filter germs and waste from your blood. They are found in various places in your body, including the abdomen, underarms, and groin.
CD causes enlargement of lymph nodes due to abnormal overgrowth of cells in the lymphatic system.
The only known risk factor for CD is HIV infection. HIV weakens the body's immune system, which makes a person more likely to get infections like the human herpes virus (HHV-8).
Symptoms of CD depend on the type. If you have UCD, you may have no symptoms, or your only symptom may be enlargement of one or more lymph nodes in one area of your body.
These symptoms may represent a serious problem that is an emergency. Do not wait to see if the symptoms will go away. Get medical help right away. Call your local emergency services (911 in the U.S.). Do not drive yourself to the hospital.
This information is not intended to replace advice given to you by your health care provider. Make sure you discuss any questions you have with your health care provider.
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