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What is a monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance?

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Monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance, or MGUS, is a condition marked by the presence of an abnormal monoclonal protein in the blood, explains Mayo Clinic. This protein is produced by plasma cells, and its presence in the blood is usually not associated with any problems.

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MGUS rarely causes symptoms, and the condition is usually detected during routine blood work, according to Mayo Clinic. Patients sometimes experience nerve numbness or tingling. Risk factors that increase the chances of developing MGUS include advanced age, race, male gender and a family history of the condition. The incidence of monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance is highest in people who are 85 years and older.

Patients with MGUS have an elevated risk for developing multiple myeloma and other blood disorders, notes Mayo Clinic. This risk increases with the amount and type of monoclonal protein present in the blood and the amount of free-light chain protein present in the blood.

MGUS does not require treatment, but doctors recommend that patients receive regular six-month checkups to monitor the condition, according to Mayo Clinic. People who have an elevated monoclonal protein count or other risk factors for developing a serious blood disorder require more frequent follow-ups. Patients who have MGUS and bone loss are treated with alendronate, risedronate, ibandronate and zoledronic acid.

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