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Multiple Myeloma Symptoms

As myeloma cells divide and increase in number, they can affect the body in various ways.

Symptoms can include:

  • bone pain or fractures, including compression fractures of the spine, which can cause severe pain, particularly in the back
  • a backache that lasts for months, which can signal that multiple myeloma is affecting the bones in the spine or the ribs
  • frequent infections, especially bacterial infections of the respiratory or urinary tracts, which occur because the immune system is weakened
  • fatigue, weight loss, or general discomfort caused by anemia (insufficient red blood cells)
  • nausea, vomiting, an altered mental state, depression, or headaches, caused by an abnormally high calcium level in the blood (hypercalcemia)
  • changes to the kidneys that cause fatigue, a buildup of fluid in the lower limbs, nausea, or vomiting
  • bruising, rashes, nosebleeds, vision loss, headaches, dizziness, or numbness, tingling, or a burning pain in the hands or feet (peripheral neuropathy), caused by blood that has thickened due to a high level of proteins
  • shooting pain in the arms or legs caused by a tumor in the spinal column pressing on nerves

About one-third of people affected by multiple myeloma have no symptoms. Routine blood tests detect their elevated levels of immunoglobulin proteins at the time of diagnosis.

Read more about how multiple myeloma is diagnosed.