Conditions and Treatments

Amyloidosis is a condition in which too much of a particular protein (amyloid) collects in the organs so that they are not able to work normally. There are numerous types of amyloidosis based upon the type of protein that accumulates and the disease can also be localized or systemic. At the moment, treatment is centered primarily upon stopping the production of the protein that causes the amyloidosis. By doing so, the function of the organs involved will stop getting worse and the body can actually heal itself if the protein production is shut down thoroughly. Fortunately, treatment for many of the types of amyloidosis has improved significantly within the past few years. There are promising drugs as well and on-going active research that should further improve outcomes.

Amyloidosis can affect the heart, kidneys, liver, nervous system, and intestines. For patients with amyloidosis that affects the heart, The condition is rare (affecting fewer than 4,000  people in the United States each year), but it can be fatal. It is often undiagnosed since the symptoms of patients afflicted with amyloidosis mimic so many other diseases. Many patients have symptoms for years before the diagnosis is made, usually by a tissue biopsy.

There are many forms of amyloidosis but the major ones are listed below:

  • AL Amyloidosis
  • ATTR Amyloidosis
  • AA Amyloisdosis
  • Other less common types of Amyloidosis
    • ALec2- Found in people of Mexican heredity and often causing kidney disease and recently discovered. No known therapy exists at the moment.
    • AApoA1- Hereditary variant of the Apo A1 protein.
    • ²Μ – Caused by the accumulation of the normal beta-2 microglobulin protein. This protein typically builds up in patients on dialysis for many years and causes joint swelling and neuropathy. Better dialysis methods or kidney transplantation can correct the problem.