Multiple myelomas also referred to as plasma cell myeloma is cancer that affects the white blood cell called plasma cells. The plasma cells under normal circumstance help the body to produce antibodies that can identify and fight off diseases and microorganisms. The disease often does not present with signs and symptoms initially, however, some symptoms are presented in the advanced stage of the disease. Some of the signs and symptoms of multiple myeloma include bone pain, recurrent infections, anaemia, and bleeding might occur. It often gets complicated by amyloidosis. The exact cause of this disease is not known yet, however, there are some factors that increase the development of the disease. Some of the factors that could increase the chances of having multiple myeloma include family history, exposure to a large dosage of radiations for a long time, excess weight and obesity, alcohol consumption, exposure to some chemicals and so on. As earlier explained, this disease occurs as a result of the uncontrolled production of antibodies by abnormal plasma cells. This can eventually lead to renal problems, and also make the blood overly thick. The plasma cells can also aggregate to form a mass in the bone marrow. This disease can be diagnosed based on the symptoms, but most importantly based on the laboratory tests and evaluations. Some of the tests that is performed include a blood test, urine test, and bone marrow biopsy. The physician would find the abnormal plasma cells on the imaging test. In addition, the patient will present with an elevated blood hypercalcemia. This disease can be treated, but it in most cases, cannot be cured. Some of the treatment procedures include the use of corticosteroids, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, thalidomide and stem cell transplant. You can buy stem cells online, but preferably, the doctor might harvest the cells from the patient’s blood. The survival rate of this disease is usually 5 years, depending on the severity of the disease.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Multiple Myeloma?
This disease usually affects many organ systems of the body. This is why the signs and symptoms might differ in people. However, the general symptoms of the disease can be identified with the synonym CRAB. This stands for elevated Calcium, Renal failure, Anemia, and Bone lesions. This disease also gives room for opportunistic diseases, mainly as a result of the compromised immune system. Multiple myelomas also lead to the loss of weight. Below are the symptoms in details;
- Bone pain: This occurs in up to seventy percent of all multiple myeloma cases. It is also the most prevalent symptom. This pain occurs in the bones of the thorax, and also the vertebrae. The pain tends to become worse with exertion and activity. A local pain that is persistent might be an indication of a pathological fracture. This disease if unmanaged might eventually lead to the compression of the spinal cord, and vertebral deformity such as kyphosis. This bone pain is mostly as a result of the overactivity and expression of the RANKL of the osteoclasts. The function of the osteoclast is to resorb the bones. This is evident in X-ray, as it presents as punched-out lesions on the skull. This leads to the release of calcium into the blood, presenting as hypercalcemia. The patient would also present with symptoms of hypercalcemia.
- Anaemia: Patient usually presents with normocytic and normochromic anemia. This happens because the bone marrow has been infiltrated with multiple myeloma cells. These abnormal cells replace the cells that normally produce the red blood cells.
- Renal failure: This might occur in the short term, and also might be chronic. Kidney failure occurs as a result of the secretion of excess proteins by the malignant cells. The multiple myeloma cells produce monoclonal proteins of different types. These proteins are usually immunoglobulins and free light chains, which eventually lead to high levels of protein in the blood. These proteins might be passed out through the kidney, however, this largely depends on the size of the proteins. The kidneys can be destroyed by the effects of this kind of proteins and light chains. The elevated bone resorption of the bone also leads to abnormally high levels of calcium in the blood and might lead to nephrocalcinosis, that might lead to renal failure. Light chain accumulation in the body can also lead to Fanconi syndrome, although this is rare.
- Neurological symptoms: Patients usually presents with some symptoms such as weakness, confusion, and tiredness. This is mostly due to anemia, and the elevated amount of calcium in the body. Other symptoms that might occur include a headache, eye problems and increased thickness of the blood. In addition, patients might also experience bladder incontinence, carpal tunnel syndrome, neuropathic pain, and other neuropathies. Patients might also have paraplegia, also this occurs rarely, and at the late stage of the disease.
- Infection: The microorganisms most commonly associated with multiple myeloma are pneumonia and pyelonephritis. Others include Streptococcus pneumonia, staph aureus, and Kleb. Pneumonia and so on. Patients are most predisposed to infections in the first few months after chemotherapy procedures. This is because of immunosuppression,
What Are The Causes Of Multiple Myeloma?
The exact causes of multiple myeloma are not known yet, however, there are some factors that increase the risk of having this disease.
What Are The Risk Factors For Multiple Myeloma?
Some of these factors that increase the chances of having this disease are;
- Obesity: It has been proven that the more weight an individual has, the more chances of developing multiple myeloma.
- The presence of monoclonal gammopathy also increases the risk of having multiple myeloma.
- Age: The older a person is, the more chances the person have of developing multiple myeloma
How Is Multiple Myeloma Currently Treated?
This disease has no cure, however, there are some treatment procedures that are important in reducing the progression of the disease, and to also reduce the signs and symptoms. Some of these include targeted therapy, corticosteroid, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy.
Stem Cell Therapy And Multiple Myeloma
Stem cell transplant has become one of the preferred treatment procedure for this disease. Hematopoietic stem cells are harvested from the patient, then a high dose of drugs, under chemotherapy is given to the patient to destroy the diseased bone marrow. The new stem cells are then transferred back to the patient. These new stem cells would produce a new line of healthy blood cells.
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Giralt (2012). Stem cell transplantation for multiple myeloma: current and future status. Hematology.
Maisnar, V., Radocha, J., Jebavy, L., Zak, P., Kmonicek, M. and Maly, J. (2009). A394 Stem Cell Transplantation in Multiple Myeloma: One Center Experience. Clinical Lymphoma and Myeloma, 9, pp.S63-S64.
u, J. and Li, Y. (2013). A new hope for patients suffering from multiple myeloma. Stem Cell Research & Therapy, 4(6), p.144.