Amyloidosis (cont.)

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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 as well, as most people who develop amyloidosis are over 60 years old.

What are amyloidosis symptoms and signs?

Symptoms in patients with amyloidosis result from abnormal functioning of the particular organs involved. The heart, kidneys, liver, bowels, skin, nerves, joints, and lungs can be affected. As a result, symptoms are vague and can include fatigue, shortness of breath, weight loss, lack of appetite, numbness, tingling, weakness, enlarged tongue, and swelling. Amyloidosis in these organs leads to cardiomyopathy, and heart failure, peripheral neuropathy, arthritis, malabsorption, diarrhea, and liver damage and hepatic 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.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/27/2014

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