Multiple Myeloma Symptoms
Multiple myeloma symptoms are your body's way of showing that you are affected by a serious type of cancer. Ignoring these symptoms exposes you to high risks.
What is Multiple Myeloma: Myelo refers to marrow in Greek. The disease is also known as plasma cell myeloma. It is also named after Otto Kahler as Kahler's disease. He was an Austrian physician who first described this disease accurately. Multiple myeloma is one of the hematological malignancies. Hematological malignancies are cancers related to bone marrow, blood or lymph nodes. Multiple myeloma in particular affects the plasma cells. These damaged plasma cells end up in the bone structure. The bone develops bone lesions or abnormal tissues. It also reduces the production of blood cells and damages the bone marrow. Changes in DNA of the plasma cells cause high production of paraprotein cells. Paraproteins damage kidney functioning. Paraproteins also reduce immune response. Damage to the bone causes high concentration of calcium in the blood or hypercalcemia. These effects point to the symptoms of multiple myeloma. What are Multiple Myeloma Symptoms: Multiple myeloma symptoms are first seen as changes in energy levels. The symptoms become more acute if the disease spreads to the bones. The symptoms can be described as follows:
Weakness: Multiple myeloma increases calcium levels in the blood. This causes feeling of weakness, tiredness, dehydration accompanied by general fatigue or lethargy. It also causes anxiety or confusion.
Effects on Head and Eyes: Multiple myeloma increase blood viscosity. Chances are that higher blood viscosity may damage tissues, retina and blood vessels of the eyes. This results in disturbance or lowering of the normal field of vision and retinopathy. This also leads to chronic headaches
Anemia: Anemia is caused as normal blood cell production reduces. This is because the cancer cells invade the bone marrow and generation of abnormal blood cells or lower the production of normal blood cells. Anemia results in high weight loss.
Effect on Urinary and Digestive System: Multiple myeloma symptoms are seen as an impact on the urinary or digestive system. The disease is known to cause renal failure. As discussed Multiple myeloma causes hypercalcemia. It is difficult to throw out the increased calcium. This causes damage to the whole digestive system. The renal filtration process becomes less efficient further damaging the renal tract. Also this increases concentration of acids in the kidneys. This leads to symptoms like infrequent urination or no control over urination. It increases chances of renal infections.
Effects on Immune System: Reduction in normal plasma cells means reduction in white cells that work as antibodies and help fight infections. This lowers immunity. The patient may show symptoms such as pneumonias, pyelonephritis and other infection diseases. Hyperuricemia and recurrent infection both point to renal failure and lowering of immune system response.
Body Pain: The tumor cells invade the bones and hard skeletal structures like cartilage. This causes inflammation. Patients start observing mild pain. If the bone structure damage increases, the patient observes chronic or radiating pain. If bones develop internal fractures then patients face severe pain. Pain is experienced first in the back or spine and in the ribs and chest region. If the spine bones are damaged the patient may suffer from spinal compression. The pain may become unbearable as the cancer cells spread throughout the body. At times, it may make physical activity impossible.
Other symptoms of multiple myeloma are indigestion, chronic infections, throbbing pains during any activity, bowel disorder, infections related to urine tract, lower or upper back pain, occasional swelling or inflammation. Diagnostic tests may show bone deformities such skull shape changes
Symptoms of multiple myeloma can be remembered by the mnemonic CRAB. C stands for high calcium levels, R stands for renal failure, A stands for anemia and weakness and B stands for bone lesions.
Multiple myeloma symptoms are thus precursor to a deadly disease that affects multiple organs in the body. Do observe and listen to what the symptoms are saying. Do talk to your doctor and get yourself checked, if you suspect multiple myeloma.