Amyloidosis (Overview, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Causes, Treatment)

Amyloidosis is a diseased condition caused by the accumulation of amyloid proteins in the organs and tissues of the body. These abnormal proteins produced in the bone marrow and can build up in any organ like kidney, spleen, heart, and lungs. Amyloidosis is a rare condition that may cause organ damage and can be fatal. Different types of amyloidosis include AL amyloidosis (immunoglobulin light chain amyloidosis), AA amyloidosis, Dialysis-related amyloidosis (DRA), Familial, or hereditary, amyloidosis, Age-related (senile) systemic amyloidosis, and Organ-specific amyloidosis.

Symptoms of amyloidosis depend on the type of disease and can include spleen enlargement, swelling of the legs, numbness, bleeding, tongue enlargement, tiredness, weight loss, a drop in blood pressure, chest pain, irregular heartbeat, and diarrhea. Amyloidosis occurs more in men than in females. Patients with a known kidney disease and multiple myeloma have more risk of developing amyloidosis. Diagnostic methods for amyloidosis include blood tests, biopsy, genetic testing, and MRI. Doctors use multiple treatment strategies such as chemotherapy, stem cell transplant, surgery, and targeted therapy to treat amyloidosis.

1Early Symptoms Of Amyloidosis

Patients may feel no symptoms of amyloidosis at initial stages. Signs and symptoms of this disease usually feel after the disease gets advanced. Amyloid proteins can reside and deposit in an isolated form in the body tissues and organs and affect the normal functioning of these tissues and organs. There is an increase in oxidative stress by the build-up of protein fibrils. Amyloid production is also present in widespread tissues, and it ultimately affects numerous surrounding organs and tissues. There are some general signs, but symptoms greatly depend on the organ affected by the abnormal proteins.

Symptoms depend on the organ affected. They greatly vary depending on the site of the body affected by the disease. Depending on the organ or system involved, following are common signs and symptoms of amyloidosis.

  • Note! The symptoms of systemic amyloidosis are the combination of symptoms affecting the organs. If more than one organ is affected, your body will be showing different symptoms. This is one of the reasons why it is challenging to diagnose this condition.

Heart Related Symptoms

The build-up of amyloid proteins affects the normal functioning of the heart. It makes the muscles of the heart inflexible, and as a result, the heart pumps less blood that does not meet the body requirements. Amyloid can cause other problems such as arrhythmia (irregular heartbeats) and stiffening of walls of the heart. Following are the symptoms of heart amyloidosis:

  • Lightheadedness
  • Drop-in blood pressure
  • Chest pain
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Swelling of legs and feet