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What is Amyloidosis?

Amyloidosis (am-i-loy-do'-sis) is a rare bone marrow disease. The bone marrow is a reddish substance located in the center of your bones. Amyloidosis occurs when too much of a protein called amyloid builds up in an organ. The buildup of amyloid causes the organ to malfunction.

There are three major forms

Primary amyloidosis: found in the lungs, skin, tongue, heart, kidneys, liver, thyroid gland, intestines, and blood vessels

Secondary amyloidosis: found in the liver, kidneys, lymphnodes, speen, and adrenal glands

Hereditary amyloidosis: found in the heart, nerves, kidney and blood vessels

The heart, kidneys, nervous system and gastrointestinal tract are most often affected.

Amyloid (am'-i-loyd) is an abnormal protein. It comes from cells in your bone marrow.

Amyloidosis is not cancer, but is very serious. Amyloidosis may be disabling or life threatening.

What causes Amyloidosis?

The exact cause of amyloidosis is unknown. But the majority of people who get amyloidosis are over the age of 40.

What are the symptoms of Amyloidosis?

There are many different symptoms of amyloidosis. The symptoms of amyloidosis depend on the organs it affects. Some of the most common symptoms are:

  • Swelling of ankles and legs
  • Weakness
  • Weight loss
  • Shortness of breath
  • Numbness or tingling in the hands or feet
  • Diarrhea
  • Severe fatigue
  • Enlarged tongue

Amyloidosis and Kidneys

When your kidneys are affected, they are unable to filter blood properly. This causes your feet, ankles and calves to swell. Weight loss, and distaste for certain foods may also occur.

Amyloidosis and the Heart

When your heart is affected, the heart's ability to fill with blood between heartbeats decreases. This means, less blood is pumped with each heart beat. The most common symptom is shortness of breath.

How is Amyloidosis diagnosed?

Your doctor can diagnose amyloidosis by performing a physical examination, blood tests, urine tests and bone marrow tests.

How is Amyloidosis treated?

Treatments are aimed to limit the production of the amyloid protein. Your doctor can prescribe medications and changes in your diet to accomplish this.

Can Amyloidosis be cured?

Currently, there is no known cure for amyloidosis.

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