Multiple Myeloma Symptoms
The name Multiple Myeloma comes from Greek word myelo, meaning bone marrow. It is also known as plasma cell myeloma or the Kahler’s disease (after Otto Kahler). It is a cancer of plasma cells also known as white blood cells responsible for the production of antibodies in the human body. The abnormal cells accumulate in bones in bones and create bone lesions. They are also found in the bone marrow where they interrupt the production of normal blood cells. In most cases, myeloma produces something called the Para protein. This Para protein can cause kidney problems and can interfere with the normal production of antibodies which then leads to immunodeficiency. A hypercalcemia or high level of calcium is also found in most cases.
Multiple myeloma symptoms and signs vary from person to person. If the disease is in the early stage which is also called smoldering multiple myeloma, it may not show any symptoms at all. As the disease spreads, it is most likely that you will face at least one of the four major multiple myeloma symptoms that are common with this disease.
1. High level of calcium in the blood: This happens when the calcium from the affected bones appear in the blood. This may cause nausea, loss of appetite, excessive thirst, constipation and sometimes confusion. This may be one of the first multiple myeloma symptoms.
2. Renal failure: Very high level of abnormal monoclonal proteins which are also called light chains of Bence Jones proteins can be found in the body. These proteins can cause massive amount of kidney problems and eventually shut it down completely.
3. Anaemia related fatigue: Red blood cells carry the oxygen needed for our cells. As the myeloma cells slowly replace the red blood cells in the bone marrow, the oxygen carrying red cells become fewer in number. So, fatigue is one of the multiple myeloma symptoms people can experience.
4. Damage of the bones and possible fracture: As the myeloma cells attack the bones, the bones become weaker. So, there is high level of bone damage in the body. The type of bone damage usually found in the multiple myeloma is called osteolytic and they look like punched out spots on the x-ray. Bone pain may be seen in the body, especially in the back, pelvis, ribs and skull region. This pain may increase many folds with increased activity.
Other than that, there is also increase chance of infections. Pneumonias and pyelonephritis are the most common infection of all the affects the body during multiple myeloma. Multiple myeloma treatments include chemotherapy. The disease is already stopping the production of normal antibodies that fight diseases and infections. Moreover, this chemotherapy is also very toxic for the body and destroys good blood cells. So, the first couple of months after starting the chemotherapy is very vital as this is the most vulnerable time for a multiple myeloma patient.
Weight loss and weakness or numbness in the leg regions are also some of the multiple myeloma symptoms.