Myeloma is a serious disease that can result in many complications; the most common include:
- Anemia – uncontrolled growth of myeloma cells may cause decreased production of blood platelets and inhibition of normal red blood cells.
- Infection – normally, the role of anti bodies (immunoglobulins) is to fight infection; however, presence of antibodies in very large amounts (myeloma cells) inhibits the synthesis of other normal immunoglobulins, which no longer allow the body to cope with infectious agents. Although the list of infection that can be due to a weakened immune system is enormous, the most common infections that are related to myeloma are pneumonias and urinary tract infection (UTI).
- Neurological disorders – multiple myeloma can also lead to neurological disorders such as confusion and fatigue, severe headache, visual changes and retinopathy, and other problems of the peripheral nervous system. In severe cases, you may also experience:
- a)loss of bowel control
- b)bladder problems
- c)carpal tunnel syndrome
- e)radicular pain
Kidney disorders – myeloma complications can lead to kidney problems including kidney failure. Kidney problems can be due:
- recurrent pyelonephritis
- high level of uric acid in the blood (hyperuricemia)
- elevated calcium level in the blood (hypercalcemia)
- abnormal accumulation of fibrous protein in your blood
- Tubular damage from excretion of monoclonal globulin protein.
Bone disorders – problems such as bone pain, fractures, vertebral collapse are commonly associated with myeloma. Without appropriate treatment, paralysis in the legs can occur. In addition, dissolving of bone can also cause release of high levels of calcium in the blood, leading to hypercalcemia and its symptoms:
- loss of appetite
- nausea and vomiting
- excessive thirst
- frequent urination
- abdominal pain
- muscle weakness
- muscle and joint aches.