This article first appeared on the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation website and is reprinted here with their permission.
Multiple myeloma symptoms may vary by patient, with the early stages of myeloma often presenting no visible symptoms or signs. When present, the symptoms of multiple myeloma may be vague or similar to those of the other conditions. Certain multiple myeloma symptoms may also be associated with complications of the disease. Remember that not all individuals with myeloma will have symptoms and that it is unusual for any one individual to have all of these symptoms. In addition, advances in treatment options allow for multiple myeloma symptoms to be managed or prevented.
The most common multiple myeloma symptoms may include:
- Bone pain or bone fractures
- Increased vulnerability to infections
- Increased or decreased urination
- Restlessness – eventually followed by extreme weakness and fatigue
- Increased thirst
- Nausea and vomiting
- Loss of appetite and weight loss
- Impaired kidney function
Bone lesions – Bone pain or fractures are caused by tiny fractures in the bone (lytic bone lesions) made by the accumulation of plasma cells; weakened bone structure.
Low blood count — Low levels of red blood cells in the blood cause anemia related fatigue. Low blood count may also include low levels of white blood cells which increase susceptibility to infections and weaken the immune system.
Hypercalcemia — Changes in urination, restlessness, confusion, increased thirst, nausea and loss of appetite are usually a result of high levels of calcium in the blood.
Impaired kidney function – Impaired Kidney Function can result in a number of additional complications and is an effect of the kidneys being overworked by the excess protein and calcium in the blood. Indications of impaired kidney function may appear on blood tests or urine tests.
If multiple myeloma is suspected in an individual, their doctor may run a number of different urine or blood tests to determine if it is multiple myeloma.
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