Main Types of Amyloidosis

The exact definition of amyloidosis is that it is a rare disease that occurs when an abnormal protein called amyloid builds up in a person’s organs. The protein is produced in the bone marrow and can be deposited into many different tissues throughout the body. Since the substance is produced in the body and then affects the body it can also be called autoimmune amyloidosis. The major organs that are usually affected are the heart, kidneys, liver , digestive tracts, nervous system, and the spleen. 

In some cases the disease can be so severe that can cause life threatening organ failure. You have to treat the symptoms of this disease because there is no cure. A part of treating the symptoms is just trying to limit the production of amyloid protein build up. In most cases when it comes to this disease the symptoms are usually not seen until the disease is in the advanced stages. The symptoms also depend on which organ is being affected as well, but may include shortness of breath, diarrhea with blood, constipation, an enlarged tongue, an irregular heartbeat, thickening or skin color changes, weight loss, numbness or tingling in the hands and feet, and difficulty swallowing. Different types of amyloidosis include the following:

1. Al amyloidosis 

Also known as immunoglobulin light chain amyloidosis, this is the most common type of amyloidosis and can be considered the primary form of amyloidosis. Light chain amyloidosis affects many of the bodies major organs and it occurs when abnormal antibodies can not be broken down. The treatment for this particular form of amyloidosis is chemotherapy medications but there is also an alternate treatment available called autologous blood stem cell transplant. An individual’s stem cells are removed and stored and then the person is given a high dose of chemotherapy and the stem cells are them put back into the individual body through the veins. 

2. AA amyloidosis 

This type mostly affects an individual’s kidneys but on some occasions it does affect the digestive tract and the heart. This disease usually occurs with diseases like chronic infection and inflammatory disease. The disease can occur along with diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease. The treatment of this disorder is to treat the underlying conditions. An example is taking antiinflammatory medications to treat rheumatoid arthritis or inflammatory bowel disease. 

3. Hereditary amyloidosis 

Also known as familial amyloidosis usually affects the liver, nerves, kidneys, and heart. This disease is also hereditary. The protein that causes amyloidosis is produced in the liver and the treatment for this disorder is a liver transplant before the disease gets worse or spreads to multiple organs. 

4. Dialysis-related amyloidosis

This type is caused when proteins from the blood gets deposited into an individual’s joints and bones. This type of amyloidosis in only found in dialysis patient. The treatment is changing how the individual receives dialysis or a kidney transplant.