Not all patients experience multiple myeloma symptoms. Some symptoms may even overlap with those of other diseases. Therefore, being aware of the different multiple myeloma symptoms and promptly seeing a doctor for a proper evaluation can help in the effective management of multiple myeloma.
Multiple myeloma can affect individuals of various backgrounds and ages.
However, many studies over the years have found that certain factors can increase the risk of multiple myeloma. This cancer is more prevalent in older adults, with the majority of cases diagnosed in individuals over 65. Additionally, men are slightly more likely to develop multiple myeloma than women. While the exact cause remains unclear, a family history of multiple myeloma or related plasma cell disorders may elevate the risk.
Multiple myeloma is characterized by a range of symptoms and signs, which can vary in intensity and impact. Early detection is crucial for timely intervention. Common symptoms and signs include:
Multiple myeloma often leads to bone damage, causing bone pain and an increased risk of fractures. As one of the important myeloma symptoms, this can result in limited mobility and discomfort.
The abnormal plasma cells in myeloma can crowd out healthy blood cells, leading to a reduction in red blood cells and anemia. As one of the most common multiple myeloma symptoms, anemia can cause fatigue, weakness, and shortness of breath.
Myeloma cells may affect nerves, resulting in numbness or weakness, particularly in the legs.
Swelling in the legs is one of the most important multiple myeloma symptoms, and it can occur due to fluid retention
By impacting the digestive functions, myeloma causes changes in appetite, nausea, and weight loss.
A weakened immune system is a hallmark of myeloma, making individuals more susceptible to infections.
By affecting kidney functions, myeloma causes excessive thirst and increased urination.
Nausea is one of the most common multiple myeloma symptoms, often related to digestive disturbances caused by myeloma.
Myeloma can disrupt normal bowel function, leading to constipation and gastrointestinal discomfort.
Some individuals with myeloma may experience mental fogginess or confusion, which can be linked to the effects of the disease on the nervous system.
Unexplained weight loss can occur as a result of myeloma-related symptoms and metabolic changes.
The exact causes of multiple myeloma are not fully understood, but several factors have been identified as potential contributors:
The risk of multiple myeloma increases with age, with most cases diagnosed in individuals over 65.
Men are slightly more likely to develop multiple myeloma than women.
Some racial and ethnic groups, particularly African Americans, have a higher risk of myeloma.
A family history of multiple myeloma or related plasma cell disorders may be one of the possible multiple myeloma causes.
Certain precursor conditions, such as monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS), can increase the risk of progressing to multiple myeloma.
Multiple myeloma can lead to various complications, including:
Kidney problems are common in myeloma due to the buildup of abnormal proteins in the bloodstream.
The weakened immune system in myeloma patients increases their susceptibility to infections.
Myeloma can cause bone damage, fractures, and pain. In some cases, this may be one of the multiple myeloma symptoms of the end stage.
Anemia and other blood-related issues can arise as a result of myeloma.
When one starts experiencing the multiple myeloma symptoms and signs listed above, it is important to see a specialist for a proper evaluation. As a few signs of multiple myeloma overlap with those of other diseases, seeing a doctor for a conclusive diagnosis is highly recommended.
Myeloma signs and symptoms can vary from one patient to another. Being aware of different multiple myeloma symptoms, not missing them when they appear, and lastly, undergoing regular checkups can help in the early detection of multiple myeloma.