Multiple myeloma can result in several complications:

  • Impaired immunity. Myeloma cells inhibit the production of antibodies needed for normal immunity. Having multiple myeloma may make you more likely to develop infections, such as pneumonia, sinusitis, bladder or kidney infections, skin infections, and shingles.
  • Bone problems. Multiple myeloma also can affect your bones, leading to erosion of bone mass and fractures. The condition may cause compression of your spinal cord. Signs of this medical emergency include weakness, or even paralysis, in your legs.
  • Impaired kidney function. Multiple myeloma may cause problems with kidney function, including kidney failure. Higher calcium levels in the blood related to eroding bones can interfere with your kidneys' ability to filter your blood's waste. The proteins produced by the myeloma cells can cause similar problems, especially if you become dehydrated.
  • Anemia. As cancerous cells crowd out normal blood cells, multiple myeloma can also cause anemia and other blood problems.
Aug. 16, 2011

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