Multiple myeloma, a cancer that forms in white blood cells in your bone marrow, can be tricky. That’s because it sometimes has no symptoms. Or the signs look like other illnesses. You might think something else is causing your problems.
This condition causes joint pain or joint disease. Osteoarthritis is the most common type. It happens when the cartilage in your joints (where your bones connect) wears down. This can lead to bone damage. Symptoms include:
Rheumatoid arthritis, which affects the joints of your hands and wrists, might also be mistaken for multiple myeloma.
Lots of things can cause back pain or injury, including:
- Strained muscles or ligaments
- Bulging or ruptured disks
- Arthritis, specifically osteoarthritis
Symptoms range from a dull ache to burning or stabbing sensations. Or weakness, numbness, or tingling. You might also have pain that spreads down one or both of your legs.
If multiple myeloma weakens your backbone (vertebrae) too much, it can fold. If the vertebrae then press against your spinal cord or pinch a nerve coming from your spine, you may feel sudden and severe back pain. Your legs may also feel weak and numb.
People with multiple myeloma have weaker immune systems. Fighting off infections -- especially in your nose, throat, or lungs -- is more difficult. So you may come down with fever or other flu-like symptoms.
- Weakness and fatigue
- Appetite loss
- A hard time breathing
- Muscle twitches and cramps
- Swelling of feet and ankles
Myeloma cells make abnormal antibodies, or proteins, in your blood or pee. This may make your kidneys less able to get rid of waste products and lead to similar symptoms.
This rare condition happens when too much of an abnormal protein called amyloid builds up in your organs. Because of this, they can’t work the way they’re supposed to.
You get this condition when your body can’t process glucose, or sugar, the right way. Some of the symptoms are similar to those of multiple myeloma and include:
- Weight loss
- Infections that keep coming back
Ticks can spread this disease when they bite you. Some of the symptoms are the same as multiple myeloma, including:
- Fever and other flu-like symptoms
- Joint pain
This condition happens when your blood’s calcium levels are too high. It’s usually caused by overactive parathyroid glands. They’re in the front of your neck. Symptoms can include:
Bone pain is also a symptom. That’s because the extra calcium was likely “stolen” from your bones, weakening them.
As multiple myeloma breaks your bones down, you often end up with too much calcium in your blood. And as mentioned before, this can also lead to bone pain.