Multiople myeloma is a cancer that affects plasma cells in the bone marrow, leading to symptoms such as bone pain, an elevated sedimentation rate, and a tendency for the affected bone to fracture. While multiple myeloma can occur in adults of any age, it is most commonly diagnosed in people between the ages of 65 and 74.
However, experts also estimate that there are thousands of cases of multiple myeloma in younger adults, particularly those in their 40s and 50s. In addition, some data suggests that multiple myeloma is more likely to occur in men than in women, although the cause of this gender-based disparity is not yet known.
What is usually the first symptom of multiple myeloma?
Early symptoms of multiple myeloma are usually quite nonspecific, meaning they could be indicative of a number of other conditions. The most common symptoms that might be experienced include fatigue, increased episodes of infections and frequent bone pain, especially in areas such as the spine, hips, ribs, or skull.
Other common symptoms are anemia, difficulty breathing, weight loss, excessive thirst, night sweats, and a feeling of fullness due to a swollen abdomen caused by an accumulation of fluid. People also commonly experience neurological symptoms including tingling, weakness, or numbness in the arms, legs, fingers, or toes.
Less common symptoms may include hyperviscosity (thick bodily fluids) and a very high calcium level in the blood. As the disease advances, the symptoms may become more severe and can include renal insufficiency, amyloidosis (a condition caused by deposition of abnormal proteins in the organs), and nerve entrapment.
It is important to speak to a healthcare professional if you experience any of these symptoms as they could be indicative of multiple myeloma.
How does multiple myeloma make you feel?
Multiple myeloma can cause a variety of symptoms, which can vary in severity depending on the individual. Common symptoms of multiple myeloma include extreme tiredness, shortness of breath, muscle and joint pain, bone pain, and recurrent infection.
Additionally, multiple myeloma may cause a variety of other symptoms, including digestive problems, anemia, nerve damage, night sweats, and decreased kidney function. The severity of each of these symptoms can vary based on the individual’s unique circumstances and may increase or decrease over time.
The fatigue associated with multiple myeloma can be particularly difficult. This fatigue can affect mental and physical tasks, impacting a person’s ability to work or participate in physical activities.
Additionally, fatigue can be accompanied by forgetfulness, headaches, weight loss, and a decrease in appetite. In some cases, multiple myeloma can cause psychological symptoms, such as anxiety and depression.
Ultimately, the symptoms of multiple myeloma can have a significant impact on a person’s quality of life and can cause physical, mental, and emotional distress. It’s important to seek medical advice if you are experience any symptoms of multiple myeloma.
When should you suspect multiple myeloma?
Multiple myeloma is a type of cancer of the blood cells. It is typically diagnosed after a person has experienced persistent symptoms such as fatigue, fever, weakness, and anemia. Additionally, additional symptoms of multiple myeloma can include frequent infections, weight loss, and night sweats.
If you have experienced any of the above mentioned symptoms for two weeks or more, it is important to contact your healthcare provider so that they can properly evaluate your symptoms. Tests such as a full blood count, protein electrophoresis, and a bone marrow biopsy may be ordered to help in diagnosis.
Other signs of multiple myeloma that you may notice include unexpected or sudden bone pain, hot and swollen joints, problems with bladder and bowel movements, and damage to bones in the thighs, hips, and long bones near the arms and legs.
In rare cases, you may have difficulty focusing, have numbness, or experience an unusual decrease in energy. It is important to reach out to your healthcare provider if you experience these symptoms.
If you suspect that you may have multiple myeloma, it is important to get the proper tests done and contact your healthcare provider to make sure you get the appropriate treatment.
Do you sleep a lot with myeloma?
It is possible to experience fatigue while living with myeloma, which can lead some people living with myeloma to sleep more than usual. According to the American Cancer Society, fatigue is one of the most common side effects of chemotherapy for myeloma, however the amount of sleep required can vary from individual to individual.
It is important to note that although sleeping can help to restore energy and manage fatigue, it should not be used as a substitute for engaging in other activities that can provide restorative or refreshing energy.
To counter excessive sleepiness, it is recommended to engage in activities such as yoga or gentle stretching to help improve energy levels and reduce symptoms of fatigue. Additionally, making lifestyle changes such as getting more exercise and eating a balanced diet may also help to improve energy levels.
Furthermore, seeking support from family and friends while living with myeloma can provide emotional and social support that can be beneficial in managing fatigue.
Where does myeloma pain start?
Myeloma pain may start in different places and can be felt in many areas of the body. It is typically associated with bone pain, which may start in certain bones or in more than one area of the body.
Most people with myeloma experience pain in their back, ribs, or hips. Pain from myeloma may also be felt in the arms, legs, and joints. People with advanced myeloma may experience pain in their spine, where the cancer has spread and has weakened the bones.
In addition to bone pain, people with myeloma may experience muscle pain, headaches, abdominal pain, and nerve-related pain due to the myeloma cells crowding out the body’s normal healthy cells. When diagnosing and managing myeloma pain, it’s important for the patient and their doctor to identify the cause of the pain before beginning a course of treatment.
How do you know when multiple myeloma is getting worse?
Multiple myeloma is a type of cancer that develops in the plasma cells, which are a type of white blood cell in the bone marrow. It is important to closely monitor for signs and symptoms of multiple myeloma progression, as it may get worse over time.
Additionally, regular evaluations from your physician are key in assessing your current level of health and detecting any changes or worsening of the disease.
Common signs and symptoms that may indicate multiple myeloma is getting worse include back pain, recurrent infections, fatigue, anemia, and an increase in the amount of calcium in your bloodstream. Weight loss and increased thirst may also be present.
You may experience new symptoms or a change in the severity of existing symptoms that may indicate the cancer is becoming more active or progressing.
Your physician may also detect changes in the physical exam or order blood tests to determine if any abnormal proteins are present that might indicate multiple myeloma is getting worse. A chest X-ray or CT scan may be used to detect cancer in your bones or enlarged lymph nodes.
Your doctor may also order an MRI to better assess your condition.
The severity of the progression can vary in individuals with multiple myeloma, so it is important to pay close attention to any changes in your condition and discuss with your doctor as soon as possible.
Who is at risk for developing multiple myeloma?
Multiple myeloma is an incurable cancer of the white blood cells. It is rare, accounting for only one-tenth of all blood cancers and only 1% of all cancers. The majority of cases are diagnosed in people over the age of 65 and the chances of developing the disease increase with age.
It affects men more than women, with a ratio of about 2 to 1. Other risk factors include having a family history of multiple myeloma and having a lipid metabolism disorder. People of African ancestry are at a higher risk than other racial groups.
People who have been exposed to radiation or other environmental factors such as benzene or other toxic chemicals are also at risk. Finally, people with compromised immune systems, such as those taking immune-suppressing drugs after an organ transplant, are at a higher risk than the general population.
Can you have myeloma for years without knowing?
Yes, it is possible to have myeloma for years without knowing. Myeloma is a type of cancer that develops from cells in the bone marrow, and can remain undetected for quite some time. In many cases, myeloma can be asymptomatic and will not cause any noticeable symptoms until very late in the course of the disease.
Most people may not even know they have the disease until it has reached a more advanced stage. Additionally, those with myeloma may experience general nonspecific symptoms such as fatigue, weight loss, fever, and muscle aches which can often have other causes and therefore go unnoticed or attributed to something else.
It is important to get regular check-ups with your doctor and discuss any unusual symptoms that may be present. If any symptoms are noticed, further tests will be conducted in order to diagnose the condition.
At what age do most people get multiple myeloma?
Multiple myeloma typically develops in people over the age of 65, with the average age of diagnosis being 70. However, cases of multiple myeloma have been reported in people under the age of 45 and in rare cases, even as young as 20.
In fact, multiple myeloma constitutes about 1% of all cancers in people under the age of 40. With improved screening and diagnostics, more cases are being identified in people under the age of 65.
How long can you have multiple myeloma and not know it?
It is possible to have multiple myeloma for a long time without knowing it. In some cases, multiple myeloma can remain undetected for years before any symptoms arise. This is because the early stages of multiple myeloma may not have any noticeable symptoms.
Many times, the condition is only diagnosed after an unrelated medical test or imaging scan. The disease can be particularly hard to diagnose because its symptoms are often similar to those of other illnesses.
As such, a doctor may need to take a look at your medical history and perform a range of additional tests to determine whether or not you have multiple myeloma. It is also possible to go into remission and experience no symptoms, only to later have the condition recur.
In some cases, this can occur years after the initial diagnosis and without any known cause.
What happens if myeloma is left untreated?
If left untreated, multiple myeloma can cause some serious complications and increase the risk of serious health conditions. As the myeloma progresses and becomes more advanced, it can cause the body to produce abnormal amounts of protein and calcium, which can eventually lead to organ failure.
As the cancer grows, it crowds out healthy bone marrow, which can lead to anemia, easy bruising and bleeding, and frequent infections. It can also weaken bones leading to increased risk of bone fractures.
If left untreated, multiple myeloma can spread to vital organs, such as the spinal cord and brain, leading to life-threatening conditions. Additionally, myeloma can cause kidney damage and enlarged lymph nodes that can impair the body’s ability to fight infection.
As a result, it is vital to receive prompt, effective treatment to help manage symptoms and avoid serious health problems.
Does multiple myeloma always show up in blood work?
No, multiple myeloma does not always show up in routine blood work. High levels of certain proteins, called monoclonal proteins or M protein, are common in people with multiple myeloma. A blood test can detect the presence of M proteins, allowing doctors to diagnose multiple myeloma.
However, not all blood tests are designed to look for M proteins. A lab technician must be specifically instructed to look for the M protein in order to detect it. Additionally, some people with multiple myeloma may have very low levels of M proteins that cannot be detected in a blood test.
If a doctor suspects multiple myeloma, he or she may order a sheet of tests to look for additional signs or symptoms. These tests include a complete blood cell count, a uric acid level test, a calcium level test, a serum creatinine test, a beta-2-microglobulin test, and other tests that measure proteins and chromosomes in the blood.
In addition to these blood tests, doctors may also order imaging scans such as X-rays or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans to look for tumors in the bones.
Can myeloma be missed in a blood test?
Yes, myeloma can be missed in a blood test. Myeloma is a cancer of the plasma cells in the bone marrow, which means that it does not always show up on routine blood tests. However, if blood tests are done for other reasons, such as to check for anemia or infection, myeloma can be detected via increases in certain proteins or other abnormalities.
Other tests, such as bone marrow biopsy or genetic test, may be performed as a method to confirm a myeloma diagnosis. Additionally, a doctor might order other types of tests, such as imaging tests like X-rays, CT or MRI scans, or PET scans, to look for any masses or other abnormalities which can be a sign of myeloma.
Therefore, it is important to seek the advice of a healthcare professional if there are any unusual symptoms that cannot be explained by another diagnosis.