Multiple myeloma – Causes, signs, treatment, and nutrition

Multiple myeloma – Causes, signs, treatment, and nutrition

Multiple myeloma is a type of cancer that forms in plasma cells, a type of white blood cells (WBCs). These cells produce antibodies that help to fight infections. Here’s a brief overview of the causes, symptoms, and treatments for the disease and what you should eat to manage your symptoms more effectively.

Multiple myeloma – Causes
Medical experts have not been able to determine the exact cause of this health condition. However, a few factors make a person more prone to developing it. These are known as risk factors and include exposure to radiation or chemicals used in manufacturing and firefighting. Also, this condition has been diagnosed most often in males above the age of 65. Having a close family member with this condition also increases your risk of developing it. Being overweight or obese has been a causal factor for the development of many health problems and is also listed among the risk factors for multiple myeloma.

Multiple myeloma – Symptoms
In the early stages, this condition causes little to no signs and symptoms. However, as it progresses, it could cause weakness or numbness in the legs, confusion, and fatigue. Patients also experience weight loss due to loss of appetite and are susceptible to frequent infections. Digestive issues such as constipation or an upset stomach have also been observed. Increased or severe thirst and bone pain, especially in the spine or chest, could be indicators of multiple myeloma. Bone pain is a common symptom of advanced-stage multiple myeloma.

Multiple myeloma – Treatment
Most often, the cases of multiple myeloma are graded as high, intermediate, and standard based on the genes present in the tumors. For patients who are not exhibiting any signs of the condition, doctors might opt to wait and observe the tumor for a while before formulating a treatment plan.

The treatments for this condition are focused on improving the quality of life and reducing the severity of symptoms. The treatment option chosen would also depend on the patient’s age and the severity of their condition.

A stem cell transplant would most often be suggested as the first line of treatment. Stem cells from your body or those from a donor would be used in this treatment method.

Some treatment options that are used are chemotherapy. Corticosteroids could also be prescribed as they help boost the effectiveness of other treatment options. Most often, dexamethasone or prednisone is prescribed to reduce the side effects of chemotherapy.

Medications that stop cancer from growing by targeting proteins and tissues could also be recommended. This form of treatment is known as targeted therapy.

To boost the functioning of the immune system and make it more effective in fighting off the cancer cells, immunomodulatory medications would be recommended.

If your condition of multiple myeloma has affected your bones and caused damage, your doctor would prescribe medications and treatment options to relieve bone pain.

Multiple myeloma – Nutrition
When you have been diagnosed with a condition such as multiple myeloma, it is essential that even though you have a loss of appetite, you consume the nutrients that your body needs to help you get through your treatment. Eating smaller meals instead of three large meals would help keep energy levels up and make you feel less nauseous.

Include plenty of fruits and vegetables in your diet as they are rich in antioxidants. However, ensure that they are properly cooked. Try to eat cooked fruits as well as your chances of contracting an infection would be high.

To manage digestive issues such as constipation, ensure you consume sufficient fiber. You can consume whole grains, oatmeal, and dried fruits.

Now that you know all about multiple myeloma, you should be able to manage your condition or care or someone that has this condition better. Always consult a doctor when it comes to consuming medications and getting treatment.