What is Multiple Myeloma?
Multiple myeloma, or Khaler’s disease, is a type of cancer that forms in a plasma cell. Plasma cells are white blood cells that are located in the bone marrow, and their purpose is to create antibodies to combat germs. A problem occurs when multiple myeloma causes the cancer cells to build up in the bone marrow, which then pushes out the healthy blood cells. Risk factors include age, family history, and if the patient is a male.
There are a few common symptoms for multiple myeloma that patients should be aware of:
1. Bone pain
Multiple myeloma is capable of destroying many areas of the bone. The resulting effect is osteoporosis, which is where the bones become brittle and weak. Patients reported feeling pain in their back, hips, and rib cages. The number of bone fractures also significantly increased. Common treatments for this symptom include pain relievers, radiation, and surgery.
2. Nausea and appetite loss
Nausea and a loss of appetite are other symptoms of multiple myeloma. Nausea is feeling sick with an urge to vomit and vomit is the literal contents expelled from the stomach. Patients can feel these symptoms from the disease or the treatments for the disease itself. Drugs known as antiemetics are a popular treatment for nausea and loss of appetite.
Patients may have a hard time with their bowel movements. Their bowel movements can either be difficult or infrequent. Doctors will prescribe a stool softener or laxative to help relieve constipation. Other treatments recommended are for the patient to eat a diet high in fiber, and drink lots of water. Daily, gentle exercises can also help aid the patient.
4. Mental Fog
Those who have multiple myeloma may experience confusion and have difficulty in putting their thoughts into words. Mental fog can occur from either the disease or from the use of radiation for the disease. Patients find it hard to go to school, work, and enjoy social activities because they can never focus clearly. Having a brain frog can last either for a short period of time, or longer. Doctors recommend eating healthy foods, quitting harmful habits, and keeping one’s stress levels in check.
The type of fatigue patients get with multiple myeloma is bone-deep exhaustion, which is different from normal tiredness. Patients can experience low red blood cells, a weak immune system, and ongoing pain. Some ways to treat fatigue include sleeping at least eight hours a day and eating healthier foods.
6. Frequent infections
Multiple myeloma can lower a person’s supply of white blood cells. This increases the risk for frequent infections. Patients reported feeling more tired and unmotivated to do anything. The best thing for patients to do is to avoid people who are sick and refrain from activities that can make one sick.