Amyloidosis is an out of the ordinary condition that builds up when an abnormal amyloid protein builds up inside your organs. The protein hinders the normal functioning of the organs and causes deformity.
Amyloid is usually not found in the body, but it is formed by several proteins. It majorly affects delicate organs like the kidneys, heart, nervous system, liver, spleen, and digestive tract. It may occur with other diseases and gets cured with the treatment of the underlying causes. However, untreated or ill-treated amyloidosis may make you land a life-threatening condition. In addition, it can cause severe health complications due to organ failure.
One may follow chemotherapy or use medications to reduce amyloid production. Other treatment procedures include organ or stem cell transplants.
Amyloidosis symptoms are experienced when the disease gets into the advanced stage. The signs and symptoms depend on the affected organs. The common signs and symptoms of amyloidosis may include:
- Swelling in legs and ankles
- Fatigue and weakness
- Breath shortness
- Difficulty lying flat on the bed due to short breath
- Numbness and pain in the wrists
- Tingling sensation or pain in the hands or feet
- Bloody diarrhoea
- Sudden weight loss of more than 4.5 kg
- Enlarged tongue
- Irregular heartbeat
- Difficulty swallowing
- Skin changes, including patches around the eyes
You must book a consultation with your doctor if you see persis
tent amyloidosis signs and symptoms.
There are different kinds of amyloidosis that affect different body parts. Some may affect the organs. A few amyloidosis varieties occur due to hereditary reasons, whereas others may develop due to inflammatory diseases and long-term dialysis.
The subtypes of amyloidosis include:
It is classified as primary amyloidosis and majorly affects the heart, kidneys, liver, and nerves. AL amyloidosis is common in developed countries.
It is known as secondary amyloidosis and is triggered by an inflammatory disease. It affects the kidneys, liver, and spleen. There has been a decline in AA amyloidosis cases due to improvement in inflammatory diseases' treatment.
It is caused by an abnormal protein developed by the liver. Hereditary amyloidosis is an inherited disorder that affects the nerves, heart, and kidneys.
It affects men who are more than 70 years in age. It mainly impacts your heart and may cause carpal tunnel syndrome. Wild-type amyloidosis occurs when the liver starts producing amyloid due to unknown reasons.
Localised amyloidosis primarily triggers organs like the bladder, skin, throat, and lungs. Therefore, it has a better prognosis than other amyloidosis varieties that affect multiple organs.
Factors that may lead to faster development of amyloidosis include:
- Age: It primarily affects people who are between 60-70 years of age. However, some people may develop this disorder even before they enter 60 years. You may discuss the preventive measures with your doctor to reduce its risk.
- Sex: Amyloidosis affects more men than women. If you are a man, you are more prone to develop this disorder.
- Other diseases: If you have an inflammatory disease like rheumatoid arthritis, you have a high chance of developing amyloidosis. The risk is more in chronic infectious disease.
- Family history: Some varieties of amyloidosis happen due to hereditary reasons.
- Kidney dialysis: If you are on continuous dialysis, you can develop amyloidosis. It is hard to remove large protein build-ups from the blood with dialysis. The abnormal protein build-up can get deposited in your tissues leading to amyloidosis.
- Race: African descents have a higher risk of genetic mutations that may lead to amyloidosis that primarily hampers their heart.
The treatment and complications depend on the affected organ. Amyloidosis primarily affects your:
Amyloid may affect your heart rhythm by disturbing your heart's electrical system. Moreover, it impacts the heart's ability to get filled with blood between each heartbeat. As a result, you experience short breaths and face difficulty while taking deep breaths.
It can impact the filtering process of your kidneys, causing a leakage of the protein. As a result, the leaked protein gets mixed with the urine. Therefore, the kidney loses its ability to flush the toxins from the body leading to waste accumulation. It may lead to kidney failure, and you have to undergo dialysis to improve your condition.
You may experience pain, numbness, and a tingling sensation in your feet. Moreover, there is a burning sensation in your toes and feet soles. Amyloidosis may inflame your nerve endings, causing a tingling and burning sensation in your feet and fingers. If it affects your bowel movement, you may face diarrhoea and constipation. Moreover, if it affects the nerve that controls the blood pressure, you may face fatigue while trying to stand up quickly.
Amyloidosis may affect other organs like the spleen and impact the body functions. If it develops in more than one organ, you may experience multiple organ failures.
Amyloidosis can match the signs and symptoms of other diseases; hence the correct treatment procedure is often delayed. The treatment varies according to your health conditions. However, the standard diagnosis methods include:
The lab tests include blood and urine tests. Both of these are diagnosed to look for abnormal protein accumulation in your body tissues. In addition, your doctor may ask for a thyroid and liver functions test.
Your doctor may take a tissue sample and check it under a microscope to look for amyloidosis. The tissues may be taken from your bone marrow, abdominal layer, and other affected organs like kidneys or liver. It can help in determining the type of abnormal protein deposits.
The typical imaging tests include:
- Echocardiogram: As the name suggests, this technology uses sound waves to produce your body image. It creates moving images that diagnose your heart's working. Moreover, it shows the damages in your heart that develop due to certain amyloidosis types.
- MRI: It uses versatile and robust radio waves and magnetic fields to diagnose your organs and tissues. The images capture your tissues in detail and assess your heart's normal functioning.
- Nuclear imaging: In this technique, a radioactive element is injected into your veins to reveal early heart damages. Moreover, it informs your doctor about the type of amyloidosis that affects your health.
All diagnostic techniques primarily examine your heart condition.
Homeopathy has given quality results in the treatment of lichen amyloidosis. The disease can spread to several organs, and homeopathy helps in controlling the further spread. Moreover, it prevents burning and tingling sensations by controlling the inflammatory process. However, you must select the treatment at the earliest to ensure a speedy recovery. Lichen amyloidosis is a chronic disorder and takes time to heal completely. Hence, it is recommended to take the medicines for a long time.