Myeloma is a cancerous growth of the plasma cells, which are the cells that prepare antibodies needed for fighting disease. Myeloma is a disorder of the autoimmune systems that retards and eventually destroys the body’s ability to fight infection. Although it occurs in the bone marrow, it can affect different locations, which is why it is often referred to as multiple myeloma. Tragically, most symptoms of this disease are similar to generic symptoms associated with other illnesses, so many patients are not diagnosed until the cancer is advanced. Many symptoms of early stages of myeloma persist even in advanced stages.
Numbness is one of the signs of advanced myeloma. This is often a result of bone degeneration that happens at an advanced stage. Bone degeneration caused by myeloma can cause bones throughout the body to break down, which in turn causes the bone fragments to press against the nerves. When this happens, the symptoms include tingling, itching, a burning sensation and numbness. In many cases, even at an advanced stage, this symptom is ignored or undetected, leading to potential complications such as loss of limb function and finally, paralysis.
Digestive problems are another deceptive sign of advanced myeloma. In advanced myeloma, digestive problems take the form of symptoms as constipation, vomiting, difficulty in urinating, foaminess in the urine and nausea. However, these symptoms usually follow earlier signs such as bone pain, especially in the ribs or back, susceptibility to fractures, repeated and chronic infections, weight loss and fatigue.
Dizziness is yet another telltale symptom of advanced myeloma. The malignant myeloma cells attack the body’s antibody-producing ability. In advanced stages, the damage this weakened ability causes to the blood stream is so pronounced that the blood thickens. As a result, the blood is unable to circulate at the normal speed. This causes shortage in the supply of blood to the vital organs, primarily the brain, causing you to feel dizzy. This insufficiency can also cause symptoms including confusion and disorientation.