Early diagnosis of multiple myeloma is generally associated with an improved prognosis and more chances of cure. In few cases, multiple myeloma is diagnosed at an early stage because of the blood tests performed for other disorders. However, in most cases, multiple myeloma is rarely diagnosed at an early stage because clinical signs and symptoms of the disease are generally apparent at an advanced stage or the symptoms are mistaken to be caused by other diseases. Following are some common signs and symptoms of multiple myeloma, which may help in early diagnosis if attended appropriately:
- Pain in the affected bone.
- Osteolytic bone lesion or fracture in the affected bone.
- Fatigue and weakness attributable to anemia, other anemia-related symptoms may include shortness of breath and dizziness.
- Recurrent infections like pneumonia due to low WBC count (leukopenia).
- Increased bleeding tendency due to low platelet count (thrombocytopenia).
- Unexplained weight loss.
- High blood level of calcium (hypercalcemia) that may lead to several symptoms like increased thirst and urination, dehydration, abdominal pain, severe constipation, loss of appetite, weakness, drowsiness, and kidney problems leading to kidney failure.
- Spinal cord compression due to multiple myeloma affecting the spine, which may cause severe pain in the back, leg’s muscle weakness and numbness in legs.
- Neuropathic pain due to nerve damage.
- Increased blood viscosity due to the presence of abnormal M protein in high concentration. This may aggravate the kidney function leading to kidney failure.
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