Amyloidosis is a rare disease that will arise when amyloid substances gather in organs. Amyloid itself is an abnormal protein that is produced in bone marrow and can accumulate in any body tissues or organs. Amyloid substances that accumulate will affect the work of organs and their forms. Many organs can be affected by amyloidosis. Examples of parts commonly affected by amyloidosis are the heart, spleen, liver, gastrointestinal tract, kidneys, and nervous system.
Some of the factors that can increase a person's risk of acquiring amyloidosis are:
- Male sex, because the majority of people with amyloidosis are men.
- Elderly. Primary amyloidosis patients are generally elderly.
- Suffer from other diseases, leading to chronic infections or inflammation.
- Heredity. There is a type of amyloidosis caused by hereditary factors.
- Dialysis. When undergoing dialysis, abnormal protein can accumulate in the blood, then buried in body tissues.
- African Race. People who belong to the African race have a greater risk of developing a hereditary amyloidosis.
Symptoms of Amyloidosis
Usually the patient does not feel any symptoms until the condition of amyloidosis is advanced. Some of the symptoms that can be felt by people with amyloidosis are:
- Difficulty swallowing.
- The stomach feels full.
- Numbness on hands or feet.
- Feeling very tired and limp.
- Pain in the joints.
- Changes to the skin. The skin thickens or bruises easily.
- Swelling of the tongue.
- Tingling or pain in the hands or feet.
- Abnormal heartbeat.
- Weakening of hands.
- Weight loss decreased for no apparent reason.
- Breath becomes short.
- Swollen wrists and feet.
- Low red blood cell count ( anemia ).
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Causes of Amyloidosis
In general, the cause of amyloidosis is the accumulation of amyloid substances produced by bone marrow, in body tissues. There are several types of amyloidosis:
- Primary amyloidosis, otherwise known as AL amylodiosis (immunoglobulin light chain amylodiosis). Primary amyloidosis is the most common type. This type of amyloidosis occurs when the bone marrow produces abnormal antibodies that can not be broken down. Primary amyloidosis may affect the heart, kidneys, skin, nerves and liver organ.
- Secondary amyloidosis, also known as AA amylodiosis. This amyloidosis coincides with chronic inflammatory diseases or inflammation, such as lupus , tuberculosis, or Crohn's disease .
- Organ-specific amylodiosis, which can cause the buildup of amyloid substances in a specific organ, including the skin.
- Dialysis-related amylodiosis, which occurs when proteins in the blood accumulate in the joints and tendon muscles. This will cause stiffness, pain and accumulation of fluid in the joints. This type of amyloidosis is commonly experienced by patients undergoing long-term dialysis.
- Senile systemic amylodiosis, which usually affects older men. Amylodiosis of this type can cause the buildup of amyloid substances in the heart and other tissues.
- Amyloidosis derivatives, a hereditary disorder that often affects the liver, nerves, heart and kidneys. Some types of genetic disorders may increase the risk of developing amyloidosis.
Diagnosis of Amyloidosis
To diagnose patients suspected of having amyloidosis, doctors usually undergo examination steps such as:
- Laboratory test. Patients will be asked for blood and urine samples for further study in the laboratory. Patients may also be required to undergo thyroid and liver function tests.
- Biopsy. The doctor will take tissue samples to study the presence of signs of amyloidosis. Biopsy can be done on the body tissue of the abdominal fat, bone marrow, or organ. Network analysis can determine the type of amyloid substances that accumulate.
- Imaging test . Scans performed on organs affected by amyloidosis may help doctors identify the severity of amyloidosis suffered.
Treatment of Amyloidosis
Treatment of amyloidosis aims to inhibit the progression of the disease and relieve the symptoms felt by the patient. The action given depends on the type of amyloidosis the patient has, for example:
- Primary amyloidosis. Many chemotherapy drugs for multiple myeloma are used to treat primary amyloidosis. The function of these drugs is to stop the growth of abnormal cells that produce amyloid.
- Secondary amyloidosis. Treatment is intended to treat diseases that cause the emergence of amyloidosis.
- Amyloidosis derived. Patients may consider the liver organ transplant step, because the protein that causes this type of amyloidosis is produced in the liver.
- Dialysis-related amylodiosis. The doctor will suggest to change the type of blood washing or kidney transplant.
- Diuretic drugs.
- Blood-thinning drugs.
- Medication for controlling heart rate.
- Pain relief medication.
Complications of Amyloidosis
If not properly treated, people with amyloidosis may be damaged in organs, such as:
- Heart. Amyloid substances can reduce the ability of the heart to fill the blood on the sidelines of the beats, so the patient will experience shortness of breath.
- Kidney. Amyloid substances can damage the kidney filtering system. This can lead to kidney failure.
- Nervous system. Patients will feel pain, numbness or tingling in the fingers, decreased all the sensations, or the appearance of a burning sensation in the toes or soles of the feet. Patients can also suffer from constipation and diarrhea.