- Rheumatoid Arthritis Slideshow Pictures
- Take the RA Quiz
- Joint-Friendly Exercises to Reduce RA Pain Slideshow
- Patient Comments: Amyloidosis - Symptoms
- Patient Comments: Amyloidosis - Other Illnesses
- Patient Comments: Amyloidosis - Treatment
- Patient Comments: Amyloidosis - Complications
- Amyloidosis facts
- What is amyloidosis?
- What causes amyloidosis?
- What are risk factors for amyloidosis?
- What are amyloidosis symptoms and signs?
- What health care specialists treat amyloidosis?
- What tests do doctors use to diagnose amyloidosis?
- What is the treatment for amyloidosis?
- What are complications of amyloidosis?
- What is the prognosis of amyloidosis? What is the life expectancy for patients with amyloidosis?
- Is it possible to prevent amyloidosis?
- Where can people find more information on amyloidosis?
What causes amyloidosis?
Amyloidosis is caused by changes in proteins that make them insoluble, leading them to deposit in organs and tissues. These amyloid proteins accumulate mainly in the tissue space between cells. Changes in proteins that make them amyloid proteins occur because of gene mutations.
What are risk factors for amyloidosis?
Risk factors for the inherited forms of amyloidosis are being genetically related to an ancestor with the disease. The risk factors for secondary amyloidosis are the underlying inflammatory chronic medical conditions.
Age is a risk factor for amyloidosis, as well, as most people who develop amyloidosis are over 60 years old.
Male gender is a risk factor for amyloidosis as about 70% of people with AL are male.
What are amyloidosis symptoms and signs?
Symptoms in patients with amyloidosis result from abnormal functioning of the particular organs involved. There might be no symptoms until the disease is relatively advanced. The heart, kidneys, liver, bowels, skin, nerves, joints, and lungs can be affected. As a result, symptoms and signs are vague and can include fatigue, shortness of breath, weight loss, lack of appetite, numbness, tingling, carpal tunnel syndrome, weakness, hearing loss, enlarged tongue, bruising, and swelling of hands and feet. Amyloidosis in these organs leads to cardiomyopathy, heart failure, peripheral neuropathy, arthritis, malabsorption, diarrhea, and liver damage and failure. Amyloidosis affecting the kidney leads to "nephrotic syndrome," which is characterized by severe loss of protein in the urine and swelling of the extremities.