Multiple myeloma is defined as a cancer which develops in the plasma cells of the bone marrow. Bone marrow is the known as the tissue that is found inside of your bones, responsible for the production of blood cells. Plasma cells are used to allow your body to fight off infection by creating antibodies over a period of time. When someone has multiple myeloma, the plasma within the bone marrow begin to lose control and create tumors that are present in areas of the bone. As these tumors develop, it makes it hard for the bone marrow to be able to make healthy blood cells or platelets for the body to use. Usually this condition affects adults, especially those who have had previous experience with radiation therapy or radiation exposure.
Those who have myeloma typically begin to experience anemia. This makes them have a higher risk of having infections and bleeding abnormally. As the tumors continue to grow, it is common to experience pain within the ribs, back, or just the bones in general. Bones that are in the spine can be affected and put pressure on nerves which can cause numbness or weakness within the extremities. Other symptoms which can be included here are shortness of breath, fevers, fatigue, brittle bones, and bleeding problems. Your doctor will begin to run tests to determine the cause of these symptoms as well as the severity of your myeloma. Sometimes a bone marrow biopsy is necessary.
Depending on how severe the condition is, treatment tends to vary. People who do not have an extremely severe case of myeloma may not even need treatment – instead their doctor may recommend that they should be monitored to see if there are any changes over a period of time. There are some people who have cases of myeloma which takes several years to even progress to a point where symptoms are obvious and need to be checked. Outside of this situation, there are medications which can be used to treat myeloma. Radiation may also be used to help treat the tumors that are present in the bones or provide the individual with some relief towards the pain that is beginning to develop. Those who have myeloma are recommended to drink fluids frequently in order to prevent dehydration and focus on taking care of their kidneys, as there is always risk for damage as the condition progresses.