What Is Kimura Disease?

Alex Tree

Kimura disease is a relatively harmless health condition that results in the afflicted person developing lumps on the head or neck. It is a rare disease that mostly affects Asian men. The cause of Kimura disease is unknown, and research is hindered by its rarity. Diagnosing the disease includes a visual inspection of the person’s body, because the lumps are usually quite noticeable. Health professionals do not agree on the best treatment, but the lumps are occasionally removed surgically.

Kimura disease is characterized by lumps on the neck.
Kimura disease is characterized by lumps on the neck.

The disease was first reported in China in the late 1930s, but was not given its current name until nearly 1950. People suffering from Kimura disease are usually quite young, anywhere from eight to 30 years old. The majority of reported cases have occurred in Asian males, but it is not limited to the Asian race. The disease is virtually unknown in North America and the United Kingdom, but researchers are not certain why.

Kimura disease is a rare disease that mostly affects Asian men.
Kimura disease is a rare disease that mostly affects Asian men.

As of 2011, the cause of Kimura disease is unknown and only theories exist as to why people are afflicted by it. Some theories involve an allergic reaction, virus, or parasite, resulting in an autoimmune reaction. All theories, including those, however, are still unsubstantiated, and many of them are little more than guesses. Many other theories regarding the cause of the disease exist but are complicated for the layman. Research is ongoing, and there may eventually be a definite cause.

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A diagnosis can be made by taking a sample of the lump. In addition, health professionals can usually narrow down a patient’s problem by simply looking at the lump. Sometimes other diseases, both harmless and potentially fatal, mimic the disease. It is important for health professionals to be sure of a diagnosis before beginning treatment, because the lump could be cancer or a health problem that would go away on its own. Lumps located on body parts other than the head or neck are usually not this disease.

The lesions caused by Kimura disease are not always treated, but when they are, it is typically for cosmetic reasons. Vitamin supplements, steroids, and radiation are all often used in the treatment of Kimura disease. What treatments are used depends on the severity of the growths caused by the disease and how much they bother the person afflicted by them. For example, radiation is not typically used to treat this condition unless a person’s quality of life is affected significantly enough to use such a dangerous treatment option.

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Discussion Comments


Also the statement that it mostly affects Asian men is not true. It seems that way because the vast majority of people on the planet are Asian. But no, it's been proven untrue.


I have Kimura's disease and find the statement "relatively harmless" quite offensive. It's life altering, disfiguring and for most of us, causes kidney failure. I find it the worst thing that's ever happened to me as does everyone else I know with it and I know more people with it than anyone else in the world does. (The huge number of five people).

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