Multiple Myeloma – Signs and Management Tips
Multiple myeloma is a cancer of plasma cells, a type of white blood cell, wherein plasma cells accumulate in the bone marrow and overcrowd the red blood cells. These cancerous cells give birth to abnormal proteins that can cause further complications. When one is suffering from multiple myeloma, one’s body might or might not give any indications. Here we will discuss signs and lifestyle changes to help manage multiple myeloma.
Signs of multiple myeloma
Here are some signs of multiple myeloma one should look out for:
A person with multiple myeloma may feel highly fatigued after a good amount of rest. This fatigue may make it difficult to carry out daily tasks. Fatigue may cause other issues like difficulty concentrating and impaired memory.
Multiple myeloma may lead to bone pain. The ribs, back, or hips are frequently the sites of dull bone pain. Movement usually makes it worse, and it persists. Moreover, this might weaken the bones and cause fractures. This disorder is more prone to impact the bones in the arms, legs, and spine. When the spinal cord is harmed, the legs and feet may become numb and weak, resulting in uncontrollable bowel and bladder movements and sensations of pins and needles throughout the body.
Unusual bleeding and bruising
Typical symptoms of multiple myeloma include heavy periods, frequent nosebleeds, and bleeding gums. Since the platelets in the body, which help blood clot, are constantly being attacked by cancer cells, bleeding occurs often. A person may also experience frequent bruising.
A person with multiple myeloma experiences frequent infections in the upper respiratory tract, urinary tract, and skin. This is caused by the compromised immune system due to abnormal plasma cells. These infections may turn severe if left untreated.
Multiple myeloma may lead to kidney or renal impairment, resulting in kidney failure. Itchy skin, swollen ankles, feet, or hands, as well as hiccups that don’t go away, are among the symptoms of this condition. Other symptoms include loss of mass, feeling nauseous, having trouble breathing, being low on energy, and having itchy skin.
Multiple myeloma leads to anemia, a condition wherein the production of red blood cells in the bone marrow is hampered, which leads to a lack of red blood cells in the body.
The affected bones in the body produce excessive calcium, which may lead to complications like stomach pain, sickness, frequent urination, constipation, or extreme thirst.
It is important to consult a physician and receive a thorough diagnosis of the symptoms. These symptoms are typically related to specific diseases. Yet, if there are underlying causes of these symptoms that hint at multiple myeloma, a doctor can understand and diagnose it better.
Foods to avoid for multiple myeloma
Since a person’s immune system becomes too weak in this condition, one needs to be very careful with what one eats.
People with multiple myeloma should avoid foods that can make them sick, like raw meat, runny eggs, sushi, unpasteurized drinks, and unwashed fruits and vegetables. Since these items have a high chance of carrying bacteria and viruses, one should avoid their consumption.
Also, one might develop kidney damage due to multiple myeloma. The breakdown of bone releases too much calcium and protein into the bloodstream, which the kidney has to work too hard to filter out. One should also avoid foods that are high in potassium, like avocados, bananas, citrus fruits, spinach, and tomatoes. Cut down on phosphorus-rich foods, like bran cereals, whole-grain bread, oats, and nuts.
One should also avoid eating seafood, poultry, and any kind of undercooked meat. Also, deli meat not reheated to a safe internal temperature should be avoided.
One should eat iron-rich items like raisins, lean red meat, kale, Brussels sprouts, and similar items to help make healthier red blood cells. Also, one must take precautions while eating anything. It is best to avoid fruits and vegetables that are damaged. Also, wash the food items properly, refrain from consuming anything that has past its expiry date, and do not leave perishable food out at room temperature.
Foods to get relief from multiple myeloma
When one is suffering from this condition, it is best to consume the following foods:
Iron and vitamin-rich foods
Since this disease causes anemia, one should eat iron-rich foods like lean meat, nuts, chickpeas, clams, spinach, liver, and more. Consume foods high in folate, like beef liver, asparagus, broccoli, etc. Vitamin B-12, like fish, poultry, eggs, and dairy, along with Vitamin D, like fortified yogurt, egg yolks, and fish, should be included in one’s regular meal plan.
Fruits and vegetables
Consume certain fruits and vegetables with anti-cancerous properties and a high ursolic acid content, like apples, rosemary, basil, and cranberries. Since these are rich in antioxidants and boost the immune system, they should be eaten to keep the symptoms of multiple myeloma in check.
Fiber rich foods
Since chemotherapy can cause constipation, one should drink a lot of water and prune juice to keep the body moving. Eat fiber-rich items like nuts, whole grains, dried fruits, etc.
It is best to contact a healthcare professional when one experiences any signs mentioned above and symptoms of multiple myeloma. The doctor may recommend some blood tests, urine tests, and imaging tests to rule out or confirm if a person has multiple myeloma. They will also recommend the right course of treatment according to the severity of the symptoms. Be mindful of what one eats and what should be avoided. One can consult a nutritionist and chalk out a meal plan to manage multiple myeloma symptoms.
In some rare cases, even after several treatment sessions, the cancer cells might reappear and become resistant to the therapies. Such a condition is called relapsed refractory multiple myeloma.