Amyloidosis (am-uh-loi-DO-sis) is a rare disease that occurs when a substance called amyloid builds up in your organs. Amyloid is an abnormal protein that is produced in your bone marrow and can be deposited in any tissue or organ.
Amyloidosis can affect different organs in different people, and there are different types of amyloid. Amyloidosis frequently affects the heart, kidneys, liver, spleen, nervous system and digestive tract. Severe amyloidosis can lead to life-threatening organ failure.
There's no cure for amyloidosis. But treatments can help you manage your symptoms and limit the production of amyloid protein.
Amyloidosis care at Mayo Clinic
You may not experience signs and symptoms of amyloidosis until the condition is advanced. When signs and symptoms are evident, they depend on which of your organs are affected.
Signs and symptoms of amyloidosis may include:
See your doctor if you persistently experience any of the signs or symptoms associated with amyloidosis.
In general, amyloidosis is caused by the buildup of an abnormal protein called amyloid. Amyloid is produced in your bone marrow and can be deposited in any tissue or organ. The specific cause of your condition depends on the type of amyloidosis you have.
There are several types of amyloidosis, including:
Amyloidosis is often overlooked because the signs and symptoms can mimic those of more-common diseases. Diagnosis as early as possible can help prevent further organ damage. Precise diagnosis is important because treatment varies greatly, depending on your specific condition.
Your doctor is likely to start with a thorough medical history and physical exam. After that, you may have:
The potential complications of amyloidosis depend on which organs the amyloid deposits affect. Amyloidosis can seriously damage your:
Nervous system. You may experience pain, numbness or tingling of the fingers or numbness, lack of feeling or a burning sensation in your toes or the soles of your feet. If amyloid affects the nerves that control your bowel function, you may experience periods of alternating constipation and diarrhea.
If the condition affects nerves that control blood pressure, you may experience dizziness or near fainting when standing too quickly.
These tips can help you live with amyloidosis:
A diagnosis of amyloidosis can be extremely challenging. Here are some suggestions that may make dealing with amyloidosis easier:
Anyone can develop amyloidosis. Factors that increase your risk include: