Amyloidosis is a rare disease condition that happens when amyloid, an abnormal protein, accumulates and builds up in the organs, interfering with their everyday activities and functions. Amyloid is an abnormal protein. It isn’t found in the body naturally. They are a combination of several different types of proteins. Amyloidosis can affect body parts like the kidneys, liver, heart, spleen, digestive tract, nervous system etc. there are several risk factors associated with Amyloidosis
What are Risk Factors
Risk factors refer to the factors that can increase a person’s chance or probability of developing a disease or illness. Risk factors of Amyloidosis are not the direct cause of an illness but can influence its development. We can see that some people with no risk of amyloidosis develop the disease, whereas some others don’t.
The cause of amyloidosis disease is unknown. The cause of production and build-up of this protein, amyloid, is undiscovered. Following the risk factors associated with Amyloidosis:
- Age: Older people (say, 50 years and more) are at a higher risk of amyloidosis. The majority of people diagnosed with AL or Amyloid light Chain Amyloidosis, which is the primary form of the disease, is seen to be aged 40 and above. The risk of amyloidosis increases as one age.
- Infections or other diseases: Having a chronic illness, inflammation, or any form of the disease can increase a person’s risk of amyloidosis. Amyloidosis does link with other diseases. For example, studies reveal that about 12% to 15% of people diagnosed with multiple myeloma also develop amyloidosis.
- People who have any form of kidney disease (like a last-stage renal disease) or has been on dialysis for some years are at risk of amyloidosis.
- People having inflammatory diseases like rheumatoid arthritis are at a higher risk of developing secondary amyloidosis. Rheumatoid arthritis also vastly increases the risk of systemic amyloidosis. An early diagnosis and treatment of amyloidosis can help manage and relieve Rheumatoid arthritis.
- Family History/Heredity: Amyloidosis can run in families. Having a family history of this disease can increase a person’s risk. This could result from any genetic mutation passed down from one generation to the other.
- Gender: Researches show that men are more prone to amyloidosis than women.
- Race: People of African descent are at a higher risk. Most such people appear to be carrying a genetic mutation associated with a form of amyloidosis that can immensely harm the heart, called cardiac amyloidosis.
COMPLICATIONS DUE TO AMYLOIDOSIS
Amyloidosis can have a severe impact on several body parts. The complications and damage depend on the organs where the amyloid build-up happens. It can affect:
- The Kidneys: the abnormal amyloid protein can affect the kidney’s filtering system, causing protein leakage from your blood into the urine. It lowers the efficiency of kidneys in removing waste from the body, which will eventually lead to kidney failure and the need for dialysis for the rest of your life.
- Heart: Amyloid accumulation affects the heart’s ability to pump blood. When the amount of blood pumped with each heartbeat decreases, a person may experience shortness of breath. Amyloidosis can disrupt the heart rhythm by interfering in the heart’s electrical system. The condition can be life-threatening.
- Nervous system: amyloid affecting the nervous system can cause drastic impacts on a person’s body and health condition. Due to amyloid build-up in the nervous system, one may experience numbness, pain or a tingling sensation in their fingers, or at times a burning sensation in the soles or toes of their feet. In amyloidosis associated with the nerves that control and coordinate your bowel function, you experience bouts of alternating diarrhea and constipation. If it is related to the nerve that regulates blood pressure, it can cause some balance issues, like you may feel like you are going to faint after standing up in a hurry or all of a sudden.