(am-uh-loi-DO-sis) is a rare disease that occurs when a substance called amyloid builds up in your organs. Amyloid is an abnormal protein that is usually produced in your bone marrow and can be deposited in any tissue or organ.
Amyloidosis can affect different organs in different people, and there are different types of amyloid. Amyloidosis frequently affects the heart, kidneys, liver, spleen, nervous system and digestive tract. Severe amyloidosis can lead to life-threatening organ failure.
There’s no cure for amyloidosis. But treatments can help you manage your symptoms and limit the production of amyloid protein.
You may not experience signs and symptoms of amyloidosis until the condition is advanced. When signs and symptoms are evident, they depend on which of your organs are affected.
Signs and symptoms of amyloidosis may include:
In general, amyloidosis is caused by the buildup of an abnormal protein called amyloid. Amyloid is produced in your bone marrow and can be deposited in any tissue or organ. The specific cause of your condition depends on the type of amyloidosis you have.
There are several types of amyloidosis, including:
Anyone can develop amyloidosis. Factors that increase your risk include:
Most people diagnosed with AL amyloidosis, the most common type, are age 50 or older, although earlier onset occurs.
Nearly 70 percent of people with AL amyloidosis are men.
Having a chronic infectious or inflammatory disease increases your risk of AA amyloidosis.
Some types of amyloidosis are hereditary.
Dialysis can’t always remove large proteins from the blood. If you’re on dialysis, abnormal proteins can build up in your blood and eventually be deposited in tissue. This condition is less common with modern dialysis techniques.
The potential complications of amyloidosis depend on which organs the amyloid deposits affect. Amyloidosis can seriously damage your:
Amyloid can harm the kidneys’ filtering system, causing protein to leak from your blood into your urine. The kidneys’ ability to remove waste products from your body is lowered, which may eventually lead to kidney failure.
Amyloid reduces your heart’s ability to fill with blood between heartbeats. Less blood is pumped with each beat, and you may experience shortness of breath. If amyloidosis affects your heart’s electrical system, your heart rhythm may be disturbed.
You may experience pain, numbness or tingling of the fingers or numbness, lack of feeling or a burning sensation in your toes or the soles of your feet. If amyloid affects the nerves that control your bowel function, you may experience periods of alternating Constipation and Diarrhea. Sometimes amyloidosis affects nerves that control blood pressure, and you may experience Dizziness or near fainting when standing too quickly, as a result of a drop in your blood pressure.
TREATMENTS AND DRUGS
There’s no cure for amyloidosis. But treatment can help manage signs and symptoms and limit further production of amyloid protein. Specific treatments depend on the type of amyloidosis.
For AL amyloidosis, treatment options include:
Treatment for other types of amyloidosis
The underlying condition is treated with medication — for example, an anti-inflammatory medication to treat Rheumatoid arthritis.
Liver transplantation may be an option because the protein that causes this form of amyloidosis is made in the liver.
Options include changing your mode of dialysis or having a kidney transplant.
To manage ongoing signs and symptoms of amyloidosis, your doctor also may recommend:
LIFESTYLE AND HOME REMEDIES
These tips can help you live with amyloidosis:
If you feel short of breath, take a break. You’ll need to avoid strenuous activities, but you may be able to continue normal daily activities, such as going to work. Talk to your doctor about an appropriate level of activity for you.
Follow a balanced diet.
Good nutrition is important to provide your body with adequate energy. Follow a low-salt diet if your doctor recommends it.