Thursday, April 30, 2009

Blood tests for myeloma

Blood tests are used to confirm diagnose of myeloma and to monitor the disease during treatment and plateau stage (remission).
I have requested that a copy of my results from med lab be mailed to me so I can prepare for my next appointment. It can be misleading to read my results in isolation so I look for trends over several readings. For long term history I have created a spreadsheet with all my results included.
In my case I was diagnosed June 1st 2001 with multiple myeloma stage III IgG Kappa.
The key indicators for me are:
Red blood cells.
Red cells contain haemoglobin and transport oxygen from the lungs to all parts of the body. Low haemoglobin will give me anaemia causing paleness, lack of energy, tiredness, shortness of breath, dizziness and fatigue.
I monitor haemoglobin; normal 130 to 175 gms/L. (01 June 2001 = 120) (24 Feb 2009 = 145)
White blood cells.
White blood cells are the soldiers that fight infection. If they drop below normal I will be at risk of infection. There are 5 main types of white blood cells. The 2 main ones I monitor are leucocytes and neutrophils. Leucocytes fight infections including chest, urinary, skin and produce antibodies. Neutrophils fight bacterial and fungal infections.
Leucocytes; normal 4.0 to 11.0 (01 June 2001 = 7.9 (24 Feb 2009 = 7.06)
Neutrophils; normal 2.2 to 7.5 (01 June 2001 = 6.64) (24 Feb 2009 = 5.31)
Platelets help to prevent and control bleeding. If platelets are too low my blood thins. This causes bruising and excessive or prolonged bleeding following minor cuts or injury. Platelets; normal 150 to 400 (01 June 2001 = 362) (24 Feb 2009 = 213)
Creatinine. (Renal, related to the kidney)
Creatinine is a waste product of muscle breakdown normally excreted by the kidneys. The level of Creatinine in the blood will be raised if the kidneys are not functioning properly. I drink 2 litres of fluid a day to keep my kidneys flushed,
Creatinine; normal 60 to 105 umol/L (01 June 2001 = 61) (24 Feb 2009 = 80)
Calcium reading tells me if my bones are being eaten by myeloma. When lytic lesions are being formed calcium is a by-product that can be detected in the blood.
Calcium; normal 2.10 to 2,60 mmol/L (24 Feb 2009 = 2.38)
Proteins produced by plasma cells, my indicator is IgG. A normal reading is between 7 to 16 g/L. When IgG rises into the 20’s I become concerned. When it reaches 35 myeloma has returned.
IgG; normal 7.0 to 16.0 g/L (01 June 2001 = 80) (24 Feb 2009 = 10.1)
Total protein; normal 66 to 84 g/L (01 June 2001 = 75) (24 feb 2009 = 76)
Total globulin; normal 22 to 38 g/L (01 June 2001 = 43) (24 Feb 2009 = 25)
Bence-Jones protein (BJP).
A protein found in the urine of many myeloma patients. BJP is a small molecule that can potentially damage my kidneys.
Casual total protein; normal 0 to 0.3 g/L (01 June 2001 = 0.4) (24 Feb 2009 = 0.04)
Casual Bence-Jones; (01 June 2001 = 0.3)(24 Feb 2009 = 0)

Anaemia. Deficiency of red blood cells which results in a reduced level of the oxygen carrying pigment haemoglobin in the blood.
Haemoglobin. The iron containing pigment in red cells, which carries oxygen around the body.
Lytic lesions. Holes in my bones caused by substances secreted by myeloma cells.
Neutrophils. The most common type of cell within the granulocyte group of white blood cells.

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