High Calcium Levels
Multiple myeloma can cause your bones to begin breaking down, and this releases calcium into your body. Although your doctor has to do blood tests or bone scans to determine how much calcium is in your blood and bones, you may experience some symptoms that are related to elevated calcium levels. You may frequently feel thirsty and also dehydrated, and you might start urinating more often. High calcium levels can also cause constipation and abdominal pain. In severe cases, you might feel confused, weak and drowsy. It's also common to lose your appetite when your calcium levels are much higher than normal.
This symptom may even impact your kidneys. Typically, your kidneys can filter the excess calcium out of your body. But when the calcium builds up to very high levels, your kidneys can have difficulty keeping up and removing it at a quick enough rate.
Depending on the bones that myeloma affects, this type of cancer can also cause nerve issues. Myeloma proteins can damage your nerves and create a lingering pins-and-needles sensation that commonly shows up in your hands and feet. However, because multiple myeloma can also affect your bones, it can damage the bones in your spine. The cancer may cause your spine to compress, which can put pressure on your nerves. If this happens, you might experience numbness and muscle weakness, particularly in your limbs and especially in your legs. Your back might also start to hurt suddenly. If you experience this pain or weakness, get emergency medical care right away.
Three types of blood issues may be early warning symptoms of myeloma cancer. These include anemia, leukopenia and thrombocytopenia.
Anemia is a condition that describes having a reduced number of red blood cells. If you're anemic, your energy levels may be low, and you may feel weak. Anemia can also cause shortness of breath and make it difficult to exert yourself.
Leukopenia is a condition that happens when you have a reduced white blood cell count. It can limit your body's ability to fight infections, which makes you more susceptible to colds and diseases. Your body also may have trouble healing wounds.
Thrombocytopenia describes a reduced blood platelet count. Platelets are a type of cell that helps your blood clot. When you cut yourself, you may notice abnormal bleeding, even if it's just a small scrape. This condition can also cause excessive bruising.
Loss of Appetite and Excessive Thirst
Gastrointestinal symptoms and thirst are common early signs of multiple myeloma. You may experience stomachaches, nausea and a loss of appetite. Severe constipation is another related stomach issue that myeloma can cause.
Excessive thirst and frequent urination are other signs of myeloma. This type of cancer can cause a condition called hypercalcemia, which means you have elevated levels of calcium in your blood. This condition causes extreme thirst, but it also often results in dehydration. Hypercalcemia can also lead to a loss of appetite.