Signs and Symptoms
Many people with multiple myeloma show no symptoms for many years (so-called asymptomatic myeloma). Eventually, most develop some evidence of the disease related to weakened bones (bone pain), decreased numbers of normal blood cells, anemia, and kidney disease or failure. As bones weaken, soft spots and fractures may develop. Destruction of the bone frequently increases the level of calcium in the blood, leading to symptoms of hypercalcemia such as loss of appetite, nausea, thirst, fatigue, constipation, and confusion. Decreases in the number of normal white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets often result in recurrent infections, bleeding, and bruising. Bence Jones proteins can lodge in the kidneys and may permanently damage them. In some cases, an increase in the thickness (viscosity) of the blood may lead to headaches or visual disturbance.