Amyloidosis

In some cases, an abnormal protein known as amyloid is produced in body. This can get accumulated in different organs and lead to Amyloidosis condition that often becomes life-threatening. It usually affects the kidneys along with heart and liver. In other cases, it can even attack the digestive tract and nervous system leading to various complications. When it is diagnosed at the right stage, proper treatment can be given to control the symptoms. However, complete cure is not possible and only reduction in symptoms is noticed after proper treatment.

Types of Amyloidosis

-  Light Chain Amyloidosis : This is very common among patients suffering from Amyloidosis and it is usually caused due to protein accumulation in the heart, kidneys and other organs of the body.

-  Autoimmune Amyloidosis : When you are facing any inflammation problems in the body, it can lead to this condition. It is common among patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis and they are likely to suffer from other conditions like kidney damage when they are affected by this disease.

-  Amyloidosis caused by dialysis : When you are suffering from long-term kidney problems, it becomes essential to choose dialysis as the kidneys will no longer be effective to remove waste from the blood. In this situation, amyloidosis can develop and it can cause serious complications in the kidney. In extreme cases, it leads to fatal consequences.

-  Senile Amyloidosis : In this type of amyloidosis, the heart gets affected and it can cause severe complications when treatment is not provided at the right time. In extreme cases, it can even lead to heart failure. However, in normal cases, it affects the heartbeat function and reduces the ability of the heart to pump blood in a normal way.

- Apart from these factors, even hereditary factors play a major role and you are more likely to get affected with this condition when someone in your family is having this disease. In this situation, you need to be extra careful about symptoms of this disease and get yourself checked regularly so that you can begin treatment at the initial stage and avoid complications in future.

Symptoms of Amyloidosis

- In the early stages, there will be very fewer symptoms and it becomes difficult to diagnose the condition at this stage. However, when the condition has advanced, it shows up some obvious symptoms and you need to approach your doctor immediately when you notice them in your body.

- It is common for people suffering from this condition to experience fatigue all the time. This general weakness will make it difficult to perform everyday activities.

- Some people also complain about shortness of breath especially when the condition is in an advanced stage. This can further lead to general weakness and inability to perform various tasks.

- Many people also notice swelling in the legs when they are affected by this condition and this can also be noticed in the leg region.

- It can also give symptoms that are common to other diseases especially when there is a tingling sensation in the feet and hands. It can also cause numbness due to improper flow of blood to these regions.

- When this condition affects the digestion system, common symptoms like diarrhoea accompanied by bloody stools is seen. Few people also have constipation due to this condition.

- When there is sudden weight loss that is noticeable, you should never neglect the issue and go for proper treatment as this can be the clear symptom of amyloidosis disease.

- In rare cases, this condition can also affect the tongue region and make it look enlarged for no reason. This will be obvious and you should pay attention to such symptoms.

- It is also common for patients to experience changes in the skin when they are affected by this disease. It can also form dark patches around the eye region and even make it painful in some cases.

- Even the heartbeat can become irregular in many cases and affect the normal functioning of the heart.

- Some people also experience difficulty in swallowing due to this issue and this happens more when the tongue region is affected by this disease.

Causes of Amyloidosis

In our body, the normal proteins are easily digested and they provide sufficient energy to the body. However, in some cases, the proteins become insoluble and this is when it leads to Amyloidosis. It starts getting deposited in various organs and affects their normal functioning. All these things lead to various complications and it can even lead to fatal conditions depending on the organ it has affected. One of the primary cause of this disease is said to be the hereditary factors. When you have a family history of this condition, you are likely to get them in future and you need to be very careful and watch the symptoms in the early stages. Also going for a regular checkup will help you to manage the condition effectively in the early stages. Other than hereditary factors, even chronic inflammation in the body can also lead to protein accumulation in various organs. This risk increases when people get old and the most common cause of this condition is arthritis.

Diagnosis of Amyloidosis

It is important to be watchful about the symptoms of this condition as it can lead to various complications in the future. You should approach your doctor and clearly describe the symptoms along with your family medical history of such conditions. This will help them to diagnose your condition in the perfect manner and it will save lots of time during the process.

-  Blood Test : You may be advised to go for a regular blood test as this can give crucial information about the accumulation of protein in the blood cells. In this manner, the Amyloidosis condition can be confirmed and further tests will be conducted to know about the affected region.

-  Urine Test : This will also give some insights into the presence of proteins and other things in the urine. In this way, the proper functioning of the kidneys can be determined and any abnormalities will be taken as a symptom of this condition and further tests will be prescribed.

-  Imaging Test : When the condition is known to have affected the heart, imaging tests like echocardiogram will be helpful to measure the performance of the heart. In this way, doctors will be sure about the problem and they will get to know the strength of the heart muscles. Remember that this condition can affect the overall pumping mechanism of the heart and lead to heart failure in the long run. For this reason, various tests are conducted to know about the normal functioning of the heart.

-  Biopsy : This method is usually used when the condition is suspected to have affected the abdominal region. In this method, a sample of tissue from the affected area is removed and it is tested in the lab for any amyloid content. If the quantity of protein in the affected region is abnormal, it is considered a clear indication of amyloidosis and further treatment will be done based on this result.

-  Bone marrow test : In this test, a small needle is injected into the bone marrow region to remove the liquid from this region. This is tested in the lab and any abnormal growth of protein will give a clear indication about amyloidosis and doctors will prescribe suitable treatment for this condition.

Prevention of Amyloidosis

There is no specific way in which you can prevent amyloidosis. However, as one of the contributing factors for this condition is chronic inflammation, you can take the necessary steps to prevent inflammation in the body. This can be done by maintaining a healthy diet and a proper exercise regime. Apart from that, when you have a family history of this condition, you need to be alert about the symptoms and go for a regular medical checkup that will help you to identify the condition in the initial stages. This will give you a certain advantage and you can easily prevent a lot of complications in the future.

Treatment for Amyloidosis

- The treatment for this condition depends on the cause for this condition and doctors suggest medication along with other treatments to reduce the symptoms.

- In most cases, when the pain is very severe, painkillers will be given in the appropriate dosage to reduce the pain. In the same manner, medication will be given to bring the heart rate back to normal as this can affect other organs of the body.

- Once this is done, depending on the affected region, you may be given blood thinners that will help to reduce and prevent blood clots in the body. This will be used after getting suitable reports from the blood test.

- When the fluid buildup in the body is too high, diuretics will be prescribed to manage the symptoms. Along with that, other symptoms like nausea and diarrhoea will be treated with suitable medication.

- When this condition has affected the bone marrow region, you may even have to go for chemotherapy and this will destroy the blood cells that are responsible for producing this protein in the body. In extreme cases, you may even have to go for a bone marrow transplant to get relief from this condition in the long run. Apart from that, medication may be given to reduce the hyperactivity of the immune system and this can reduce the symptoms to a major extent.

- When you have Amyloidosis due to dialysis, there is no other option left but to go for a kidney transplant and this can give you good relief in future. When you have this condition due to hereditary factors, you may be advised to go for a liver transplant as this condition is generally triggered in the liver region.

Complications of Amyloidosis

- You need to consider this condition seriously as this can also lead to severe complications when you neglect the initial symptoms. For this reason, you should always visit your doctor as soon as you notice symptoms of this condition.

- When this protein builds up in the chest region, it can affect the normal functioning of the heart. It basically tampers with the electrical system of the heart and this can affect the normal heart beating function. It can also cause stiffness in the muscles of this region and this makes it difficult for the heart to pump blood in a normal way. All these things can lead to shortness of breath and this will also cause fatigue in many cases. In the same manner, when this reaches the extreme stage, it can also lead to heart failure.

- In our body, the kidneys are responsible for removing waste from the blood and this will filter the impurities in the blood. However, Amyloidosis can damage the kidneys and make it difficult for them to process waste from the body. This can lead to several health complications and even cause kidney failure in extreme cases. For this reason, you should immediately seek medical help when there are obvious symptoms in your body.

- Not only that, it can also affect the various nerves of the body due to protein buildup and this will affect the proper functioning of nerves. In this manner, when the nerves that control bowel movements get affected, patients will find it difficult to control the bowel and this can also cause further infections in the body. Apart from that, when this condition affects the nerves in the legs, it can create numbness and this can severely damage the legs in the future.

Conclusion

If you are diagnosed with this condition, you need to check which area it has affected your body. If it has affected the vital organs like kidney or heart, you will have to be very careful and manage the condition effectively with proper treatment. Remember that when you ignore the problem, it can even lead to fatal consequences as it affects the normal functioning of these organs. In extreme conditions, it can even lead to heart failure or kidney failure. However, taking proper medication at the right stage will help you to handle the symptoms and you will be able to get relief from this problem to some extent.

Last updated on : 14-09-2018

Disclaimer : Docprime doesn’t endorse or take any guarantee of the accuracy or completeness of information provided under this article and these are the views strictly of the writer. Docprime shall not be held responsible for any aspect of healthcare services administered with the information provided on this article.

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