IDIOPATHIC AMYLOIDOSIS

Idiopathic amyloidosis is an uncommon illness caused by the build-up of amyloid, an uncommon type of protein, in the organs. This build-up eventually interferes with the affected organ’s function and causes complications.

The body does not usually contain the protein amyloid. However, this can be developed through various kinds of protein in the body. Moreover, the organs that are likely to be affected by idiopathic amyloidosis are the kidneys, heart, digestive tract, spleen, liver, and nervous system.

SYMPTOMS

The symptoms of idiopathic amyloidosis vary, depending on which organs might be affected. Symptoms and signs may include:

  • Severe fatigue
  • Inflammation in the legs and ankles
  • Weakness
  • Breathing difficulties despite minimal exertion
  • Numbness
  • Breathing difficulties causing the inability to lie flat on the bed
  • A tingling or painful sensation in the wrist, hands, and feet
  • Difficulties in swallowing
  • Sudden and unintentional weight loss
  • Constipation or diarrhea that may include blood
  • Easy bruising or thickening of the skin
  • Enlargement of the tongue
  • Irregular heartbeat

DIAGNOSIS

Oftentimes, idiopathic amyloidosis can be overlooked since its symptoms are quite similar to those of other common illnesses. Nevertheless, your doctor may conduct a precise diagnosis to rule out other possible conditions through the following procedures:

  • Laboratory tests. Blood and urine tests may be requested, as well as liver and thyroid function tests.
  • Biopsy. A tissue sample may be extracted from the affected organ, skin under your abdomen, or your bone marrow.
  • Imaging tests. Magnetic resonance imaging, nuclear imaging, and echocardiogram may be requested.

TREATMENT

Unfortunately, there’s still no known cure for idiopathic amyloidosis. However, certain treatment procedures may aid in the management of its symptoms. These procedures may also inhibit the further development of amyloid in the body.

  • Organ transplant. This surgery may be recommended if the damage of idiopathic amyloidosis in the affected organ is severe.
  • Autologous blood stem cell transplant. Stem cells will be collected from your own blood and will be temporarily stored separately during your high-dose chemotherapy. Afterwards, the stem cells will be returned through a vein.
  • Dialysis. This procedure is conducted when your kidneys are affected.
  • Chemotherapy. This procedure aids in inhibiting the production of proteins that form amyloids.

Aside from those, the following medications may be provided:

  • Blood thinners
  • Heart medications
  • Tegsedi (inotersen)
  • Onpattro (patisiran)
  • Diflunisal
  • Tafamidis

Remember, don’t take medications for idiopathic amyloidosis without your doctor’s prescription.

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