Amyloidosis is a group of rare diseases. It involves deposits of a protein called amyloid. These proteins build up in body tissues and organs. There are three major forms:
The build up of amyloid can make it difficult for the organ or tissue to function. These conditions are serious. They require care from your doctor.
The causes of amyloidosis vary in its different forms.
The following factors increase your chance of developing amyloidosis:
If you experience one or more of these, contact your doctor.
The extent of the disease and the type of organ affected determine the symptoms if any. They can vary from mild to severe. The following is a list of additional symptoms as they relate to specific body systems:
Edema in Lower Legs
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This condition can be difficult to diagnose. Underlying conditions may be fatal before it is found. Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. The doctor may refer you to specialists. Tests may include the following:
There is no cure for any form. The main goal is to treat an underlying condition. Treatment to decrease or control symptoms and complications has been only modestly successful. Talk with your doctor about the best plan for you. Treatment options include:
Chemotherapy is the use of a series of drugs. It may be given by pill, injection, or via a catheter. In this case, it is used to help improve symptoms and slow the progression of the disease. It is used in:
Stem cells are immature cells. They are transplanted to replace damaged or diseased cells. This process is used in:
This is the removal of a diseased organ and transfer of a healthy donor organ to the recipient. In these cases, it is the liver or kidney. It may be done in all major forms of amyloidosis.
This is the removal of the spleen . This can decrease the production of amyloid. It may be done for primary and secondary amyloidodis.
Treatments for all forms of amyloidosis include:
Amyloidosis Support Groups
Amyloidosis Support Network
Canadian Organization for Rare Disorders
The Kidney Foundation of Canada
Amyloidosis. Amyloidosis Support Network. Available at: http://www.amyloidosis.org/ . Accessed September 15, 2005.
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DynaMed Editorial Team. Amyloidosis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php . Updated October 11, 2010. Accessed October 20, 2010.
Mayo Clinic. Amyloidosis. Mayo Clinic website. Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/amyloidosis/DS00431 . Updated July 8, 2010. Accessed October 20, 2010.
Merlini G, Bellotti V. Molecular mechanisms of amyloidosis. N Engl J Med. 2003; 349:583.
Special subjects amyloidosis. Merck Manual website. Available at: http://www.mercksource.com/pp/us/cns/cns_merckmanual_frameset.jsp . Accessed September 14, 2005.
Westermark P, Benson MD, Buxbaum JN, et al. Amyloid: toward terminology clarification. Report from the Nomenclature Committee of the International Society of Amyloidosis. Amyloid 2005; 12:1.
Last reviewed March 2013 by Igor Puzanov, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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