Signs, Symptoms and Treatments for Amyloidosis

Amyloidosis is a serious condition that can affect the heart, kidneys, intestines, joints, and other major organs. While there are different types of amyloidosis, the most common is AL amyloidosis. It’s estimated that 4,000 people develop this condition annually in the U.S., but it can be difficult to track the prevalence of amyloidosis because the diagnosis is often delayed or never discovered. That’s why it’s important to search online and learn what symptoms to look out for.

There are different types of amyloidosis that impact certain parts of the body stronger than others. You can learn more about amyloidosis by searching online.

Here’s what you should know about amyloidosis.

What is Amyloidosis?

Amyloids are a rare and abnormal protein. When this protein builds up in tissue and organs, it can negatively affect its shape and function This condition is known as amyloidosis, which can be potentially life-threatening since the build up of amyloids can interfere with the organs normal function.

There are different types of amyloidosis.

  1. AL Amyloidosis — the primary type which has no known cause, except the bone marrow making abnormal antibodies that can’t be broken down.
  2. AA Amyloidosis — this condition is the result of another chronic infectious or inflammatory disease that mostly affects the kidneys.
  3. Dialysis-Related Amyloidosis (DRA) — caused by deposits of beta-2 microglobulin that builds up in the blood and most commonly affects the bones, joints, and tendons.
  4. Familial or Hereditary Amyloidosis — rare form of the disease that’s passed down through families and often affects the liver, nerves, heart, and kidneys.
  5. Age-Related Systemic Amyloidosis — affects the heart in older men.

Symptoms of Amyloidosis

The symptoms a person experiences due to amyloidosis will ultimately depend on what part of the body amyloids are deposited. While people may not experience symptoms in early stages, it’s possible enough amyloids will build up and negatively affect the body’s organs.

General symptoms of amyloidosis may include fatigue, weakness, joint pain, bruising around the eyes or skin, swollen tongue, or carpal tunnel syndrome.

Localized Symptoms

Here are specific symptoms a person may experience when amyloidosis is prevalent in certain parts of the body.

Symptoms of amyloidosis affecting the heart may include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Fast, slow, or irregular heart rate
  • Chest pain
  • Low blood pressure, which could cause lightheadedness

Symptoms of amyloidosis affecting the gastrointestinal tract may include:

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Appetite loss
  • Weight loss
  • Feeling of fullness right after eating

Symptoms of amyloidosis affecting the nerves may include:

  • Pain, numbness, or tingling in the hands, feet, and lower legs
  • Dizziness when standing up
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Inability to feel cold or heat

Symptoms of amyloidosis affecting the kidneys may include:

  • Swelling in the legs
  • Foamy urine

Symptoms of amyloidosis affecting the liver may include:

  • Pain and swelling in the upper part of your abdomen

Keep in mind that many of these symptoms are commonly found in other conditions, so what you’re experiencing may not be amyloidosis. If these symptoms persist, see your doctor for a checkup to find out the cause.

Treatments for Amyloidosis

Doctors will order blood tests, urine tests, and biopsies to diagnose and monitor the progression of AL amyloidosis. Patients will then work with specialists to treat the condition depending on where they are experiencing symptoms.

The goal of treating amyloidosis would be to slow down or stop the overproduction of amyloids. Treatment will also focus on managing symptoms and preventing them from worsening to the point of organ damage.

One procedure that can provide long-term control of the underlying disease are stem cell transplants. Only few patients are eligible for this procedure, which is why chemotherapy-based treatments are likely needed.

Chemotherapy uses drugs to destroy abnormal cells and stop its ability to grow and divide.This treatment may be given in the form of an intravenous (IV) tube, a shot under the skin, or an oral pill. Alternatively, targeted therapy can target specific proteins or genes to block the growth of abnormal cells while limiting damage to healthy cells in the process.

In more severe cases, organ transplants may be required. This might not be an option for patients with large amounts of amyloid proteins already deposited into their organs. If a person has untreatable amyloidosis, the goal will be to minimize symptoms and make life more comfortable.

Learn More About Amyloidosis Online

Amyloidosis is a rare disease with no exact cure. Some patients may have successful treatments that eliminate or minimize the number of amyloids produced in the body. Others may progress into advanced or terminal stages.

Since there is no way to prevent amyloidosis, recognizing the symptoms and getting an earlier diagnosis may increase the chances of successful treatment. Learn more about the different types of amyloidosis and its symptoms by searching online or talking to your doctor.

Chelsea Dolan

Chelsea Dolan

Chelsea is a staff writer for Qool Media. She does her best at balancing her sugar addiction by going to the gym, parking far away from store entrances, and standing at her work desk from time to time.