Multiple Myeloma | Symptoms, Types, Causes, Diagnosis & Treatment

Plasma cells are a type of white blood cell. They are found in bone marrow but can also form in the spleen, lymph nodes, and other sites. These cells normally transform into a type of lymphocyte called B cells, which produce antibodies and protect the organism against microbes and viruses. But what if these cells grow out of control? That is basically what multiple myeloma is.

You can see multiple myeloma as tumors formed in the bone marrow, but they can be different from other types of malignant growths or cancers. These tumors block the production of normal blood cells, which can lead to anemia, infections, and bleeding.

So multiple myeloma has various manifestations, and they depend on many factors at play. In this article, we’re looking at this disease and making it simple for patients and their caregivers to understand. After reading, you will know about the types of multiple myeloma, their signs and symptoms, treatment, and more.

What is multiple myeloma?

It is a type of hematologic cancer that affects the bone marrow and can affect the body’s ability to make new blood cells. Multiple myeloma is a type of cancer that develops in plasma cells. As a type of cancer that is found in the blood, multiple myeloma is not always apparent in the same way as solid cancers.

There are sometimes tumors forming in the bone marrow, but not necessarily so. And still, there are alterations in how blood cells are formed, and patients experience different alterations. That’s why multiple myeloma can cause various symptoms, including fatigue, fever, anemia, bleeding, spinal cord compression syndromes, pain in bones or joints, weakness, weight loss, and much more.

Multiple myeloma symptoms

The most common symptoms of multiple myeloma include bone pain, fatigue, and bleeding.

  • Pain is most noticeable in your bones, and you may experience symptoms of bone damage. It is described as bone pain, which is dull and sustained for an extended period in a wide area that is difficult to pinpoint.
  • Fatigue is a common symptom in multiple myeloma, as the disease often causes anemia, which makes you feel tired easily. It can also be described as muscle weakness or a sensation of feeling unwell or malaise.
  • Blood tests are used to detect multiple myeloma. These tests measure the levels of t cells, red blood cells, platelets, and creatinine in your blood. Abnormal levels of these substances in your blood test can indicate the presence of multiple myeloma. When platelets are low, the most common symptom is bleeding

Signs of multiple myeloma

The difference between signs and symptoms is that the patient feels symptoms, and signs are something a doctor can measure in their clinical practice. The most important signs of multiple myeloma include the following:

  • Pathologic fractures: In other words, fractures because your bone is weakened and has reduced mineral density. With an otherwise healthy bone, you wouldn’t have fractured.
  • Spinal cord compression: When a pathologic fracture occurs in the vertebrae, these structures collapse and create compression in the spinal cord. It is also possible that the bone marrow mass grows very large and also causes compression.
  • Anemia: This is a reduction in the hemoglobin levels of the blood. Anemia is characteristic of multiple myeloma because the abnormal growth of plasma cells takes the space reserved for other blood cells. They are not produced as effectively, and patients would experience a reduction in their blood cell count.