Health

9 symptoms of myeloma that you should not ignore

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Multiple myeloma refers to a type of cancer that forms in plasma cells, a type of white blood cells, in the bone marrow. In this disease, cancerous cells accumulate in the bone marrow and outnumber the healthy blood cells. Instead of producing antibodies to fight infections, the cancerous cells produce abnormal proteins that lead to health complications.

Patients may exhibit a wide range of symptoms due to myeloma which may overlap with other diseases. For those who do not experience any symptoms, the cancer can be detected with the help of a urine or blood test. The most common symptoms of myeloma are:

  • Fatigue
    This includes tiredness and a lack of energy to perform day-to-day activities. It can be caused by abnormal cytokine production.
  • Anemia
    This condition prevails due to a low count of red blood cells. As a result, there is not enough oxygen being transported to various body tissues. Anemia occurs when myeloma plasma cells suppress or outnumber the healthy red blood cells.
  • Bone pain
    This is a very common symptom. Cancer cells growing in the cortical bone and bone marrow can cause local bone damage and loss of bone density, leading to osteoporosis. The ribs and back are the most common areas for bone pain. However, in more advanced multiple myeloma cases of the spine, the vertebrae may collapse.
  • Excess M protein
    This is an important symptom of myeloma to be wary of. It can lead to kidney damage and even failure.
  • Bodily pain
    This includes weakness and numbness. It can occur when the collapsed vertebra pushes into the spinal cord or when it pinches a nerve as it exits the spine.
  • Hypercalcemia
    This refers to high levels of calcium in the bloodstream due to the breakdown of bones. It can cause kidney damage, constipation, and drowsiness.
  • Blood loss
    This could happen in the form of nosebleeds, blood clots, bruising, bleeding gums, and unfocused vision due to thickened blood. A low platelet count is also a sign of this disease.
  • Infections and fevers
    People with myeloma suffer from lower immunity. As a result, fevers and infections of the lungs and upper respiratory tract can occur.
  • Other symptoms
    These include nausea, excessive thirst, weight loss, muscle weakness, mental confusion, and kidney failure.