The Problem of Heart or Amyloidosis? Here’s Everything You Need To Know
The Problem of Heart or Amyloidosis? Here’s Everything You Need To Know

By Malla Reddy Narayana on 31 Mar, 2022

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Our body has different types of proteins that help in the growth and proper maintenance of the body. Amyloidosis occurs when an aberrant protein known as amyloid accumulates in the organs and tissues. When this happens, it has an effect on their structure and how they function. Amyloidosis is a significant health issue that can result in organ failure and death if not dealt with proper care. When amyloidosis occurs as a result of some underlying disease, there is a scope that the case of amyloidosis may also improve if the underlying disease is treated. 

What causes Amyloidosis?

There are numerous forms of amyloidosis. Some variants are inherited. Others are the result of external influences, such as inflammatory disorders or long-term dialysis. Many types affect many organs, whilst others only affect one portion of the body.

The types of amyloidosis are as follows:

– AL amyloidosis: AL amyloidosis, the most prevalent category of amyloidosis in industrialized countries, is also known as primary amyloidosis. It usually has an impact on the heart, kidneys, liver, and nerves.

– AA amyloidosis: This type of amyloidosis, is also referred to as secondary amyloidosis. AA amyloidosis is generally caused by an inflammatory condition. The incidence of occurrences with – AA amyloidosis in affluent countries has decreased dramatically due to improved therapies for severe inflammatory diseases. The kidneys, liver, and spleen are the most usually affected organs.

Hereditary Amyloidosis: This genetic condition frequently affects the nerves, heart, and kidneys. It usually occurs due to the production of aberrant protein. This protein is known as transthyretin (TTR).

Amyloidosis of undetermined cause. This type of amyloidosis arises when the liver’s TTR protein is normal yet creates amyloid for unclear reasons. 

– Wild-type amyloidosis: This type of amyloidosis primarily affects men over the age of 70 and usually affects the heart. It is also capable of causing carpal tunnel syndrome.

– Localized amyloidosis: This kind of amyloidosis usually has a better rate of recovery as compared to other types of amyloidosis which affect numerous organs. The bladder, skin, throat, and lungs are common locations for localized amyloidosis. It is critical to provide an accurate diagnosis so that medications that cover the overall can be administered.

What are the symptoms of Amyloidosis?

One may not notice any signs or symptoms of amyloidosis till the condition worsens and when the symptoms begin to appear,  they are different depending upon the organ the disease has its grasp on.

The most common signs and symptoms of amyloidosis include the following:

– Extreme fatigue

– Breathlessness

– Numbness and tingling sensation in hands and feet

– Diarrhea with traces of blood and constipation

– Unforeseen loss of weight

– An enlarged tongue that sometimes appears wavy around the edges

– Skin changes such as thickness or bruising, as well as reddish spots around the eyes

– Irregular heartbeats

– Difficulty in swallowing

What are the complications of Amyloidosis?

The potential problems of amyloidosis are determined by which organs are affected by the amyloid deposits. Amyloidosis can cause major damage to the following:

– Heart:  Amyloid impairs the ability of the heart to replenish blood between heartbeats. With each beat, less blood is pushed and one may have shortness of breath. The heart rhythm might also get disrupted if amyloidosis impairs the heart’s electrical system. Amyloid-related heart issues are potentially fatal.

– Kidneys. Amyloid can damage the filtering mechanism of the kidneys, causing the protein to escape from the bloodstream into the urine. The ability of the kidneys to remove waste items from the body is reduced, which may cause the kidneys to fail.

– The nervous system: One may feel pain, numbness, or tingling in the fingers, as well as toes and feet. If amyloid damages the nerves responsible for bowel function, one may endure bouts of constipation and diarrhea. One might feel dizzy after standing up too rapidly if the affected nerves are the ones that govern blood pressure.

Methods of treatments

There is no treatment for amyloidosis. However, therapy can help regulate symptoms and limit the development of amyloid protein. If amyloidosis was caused by another underlying ailment, such as tuberculosis or rheumatoid arthritis, addressing the underlying condition can be beneficial.

Treatments By Medicines:-

– Chemotherapy: Many of the same medications used to treat certain kinds of cancer are being used to inhibit the proliferation of aberrant cells that create the protein that leads to an amyloid buildup in AL amyloidosis.

– Heat medicines: If one’s heart is damaged, the doctor may recommend blood thinners to lessen the chance of clots as well as drugs to manage the heart rate. one may also have to limit their salt consumption and take medications that stimulate urine to relieve the strain on the heart and kidneys.

– Targeted treatments: Drugs can either interfere with the orders issued by defective genes that produce amyloid or stabilize fragments of proteins and prevent them from converting into amyloid deposits in certain types of amyloidosis.

Surgical Treatments:-

– Transplantation of autologous blood stem cells:  This method includes extracting the stem cells of the patient via a vein and keeping them for a brief period of time while one gets high-dose chemotherapy. The extracted stem cells then are reintroduced into the body through a vein. This treatment is best suited to persons whose condition isn’t progressed and people who have a healthy heart.

– Dialysis:  If amyloidosis has damaged the kidneys, one may also need to begin dialysis. A machine is used in this treatment to filter wastes, salts, and liquids from the blood on a regular basis.

– Organ Transplant:  If amyloid deposits affect the heart or kidneys, the doctor may recommend surgery to replace those organs. Because some kinds of amyloid are generated in the liver, a liver transplant can be beneficial in stopping the production of amyloids

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