Many people are diagnosed with CLL even though they do not have any symptoms. The disease may be suspected because of abnormal results from blood tests that were ordered either as part of an annual physical or a medical examination for an unrelated condition. An unexplained elevated white blood cell (lymphocyte) count is the most common finding that leads a doctor to consider a CLL diagnosis.
Generally, CLL symptoms develop over time. As the disease progresses, a person may experience
- Shortness of breath during normal physical activity
- Anemia (decreased red blood cell count)
- Lymph node enlargement (particularly in the neck)
- Low-grade fevers
- Unexplained weight loss
- Night sweats
- Enlarged spleen or liver (This can cause a feeling of fullness.)
- Infections of the skin, lungs, kidneys or other sites, as result of low immunoglobulin levels and decreased neutrophil counts.
- Download or order The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's free booklet, Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia.