Amyloidosis transpires because of an unbreakable antibody. Antibodies are produced by your bone marrow to fight infection and disease. After an antibody achieves its mission, it is broken down and recycled.
For a rare few, their bone marrow produces an abnormal antibody composed of amyloid protein. Problem here is that this protein cannot be broken down, so it builds up in the bloodstream. Eventually being deposited into organ tissue.
A buildup of amyloid protein clumps in your tissue and organs leads to interference with normal organ function, and sometimes organ failure. And that deposit and failure is essentially what amyloidosis is all about.
The cause and cure of amyloidosis remains a mystery. However, there are treatments available to help manage symptoms and limit further amyloid protein production.
Speaking of symptoms, much depends on which organ(s) receive the amyloid deposits. Some prominent amyloidosis symptoms or resulting conditions can involve:
- weight loss
- heart failure
- skin changes
- kidney failure
- severe fatigue
- irregular heartbeat
- shortness of breath
- difficulty swallowing
- carpal tunnel syndrome
- feet, ankle & leg swelling
- hands, feet numbness, tingling
- feel faint when standing too quickly
- finger pain, numbness, burning, tingling
Some may even experience no symptoms whatsoever.
There are many forms of amyloidosis. But primary, secondary and cardiac amyloidosis are worth a more in depth look.
Primary amyloidosis is the most common. It mainly affects your heart, kidneys, tongue, nerves and intestines. Multiple myeloma is the only disease associated with primary amyloidosis, and that’s only in relatively few of the cases.
Any body can develop primary amyloidosis, but some factors put you at greater risk:
- family history
- men more likely
- majority over than 40
- have multiple myeloma
- kidney disease requiring dialysis
- having a chronic infectious, inflammatory disease
Secondary amyloidosis primarily affects your kidneys, spleen, liver and lymph nodes. It develops in alliance with some other chronic infectious or inflammatory diseases, like:
- cystic fibrosis
- Sjogren syndrome
- Hodgkin’s disease
- hairy cell leukemia
- rheumatoid arthritis
- juvenile chronic arthritis
- Familial Mediterranean fever
- systemic lupus erythematosus
Treatment of the underlying condition helps stop this form of amyloidosis.
Cardiac amyloidosis is obviously caused by amyloid deposits in your heart muscle tissue. This unfortunate situation makes it difficult for proper heart pumping.
As may well be expected, the symptoms of cardiac amyloidosis are:
- swollen liver
- heart murmur
- activity intolerance
- legs, ankle swelling
- activity shortness of breath
- trouble breathing lying down
- blood pressure drops when standing up
Cardiac amyloidosis is a chronic condition that gets worse slowly. On average, cardiac amyloidosis life expectancy is under a year.
Your cardiac amyloidosis treatment options might include:
A heart transplant may be considered if amyloidosis hasn’t weakened other organs.
The protein you consume is not involved in the development of amyloidosis. But health maintenance is important during its organ takeover. So consume a well balanced diet to provide your body with adequate energy and nutrients.
Consult your health care professional for accurate diagnosis and further information on amyloidosis treatment.