When one suffers from multiple myeloma, this blood cancer forms in their healthy plasma cells. These white blood cells can produce antibodies that identify bacteria and fight them, helping prevent illness. In this disorder, the bone marrow produces too many cancerous plasma cells, which replace normal blood cells. In addition, an abnormal protein produced by these cancer cells can lead to complications. Here are early signs of multiple myeloma that one should know.
Early signs of multiple myeloma
While this condition may not cause symptoms in the early stages, it can lead to various severities. It is usually discovered during a routine blood test or, in some cases, a urine test. Some of the early signs of multiple myeloma include the following:
This condition can directly affect bone density and lead to pain in the back, ribs, and hip bones. Usually, people experience it as a dull, aching pain that gets worse with movement. Weak bone strength can also result in fractures of the spine and long bones like the arms and legs. It can also compress the spinal cord, causing numbness in the legs.
Anemia interferes with blood cell production in the bone marrow, resulting in the body’s lack of red blood cells. Such a problem occurs when plasma cells from myeloma suffocate or crowd out healthy red blood cells. Anemia could also be a side effect of myeloma treatment. Low red blood cell counts in the body cause fatigue, weakness, and shortness of breath.
People with multiple myeloma are particularly vulnerable to infections because the condition disrupts the immune system. Low immunity can cause fever and infections, particularly in the upper respiratory tract and lungs. Such an issue makes fighting infections harder.
Raised blood calcium levels
Excess calcium released into the bloodstream from damaged bones can cause hypercalcemia. Its symptoms include intense thirst, stomach pain, frequent urination, constipation, and drowsiness.
Cancerous cells in the bone marrow may prevent the production of platelets, i.e., blood-clotting cells. Those with multiple myeloma may develop bruises and bleed, including heavy menstrual cycles, nosebleeds, and bleeding gums.
Excess proteins produced by myeloma cells may cause the blood to thicken more than usual. This disorder is known as hyperviscosity and can cause symptoms such as blurred vision, headaches, dizziness, and shortness of breath.
One should report symptoms to a doctor to avoid complications and get prompt treatment.