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Amyloidosis — causes, side effects and treatments at

Wednesday, December 20, 2017 by

Amyloidosis is a rare disease that occurs when proteins called amyloids create deposits in body tissues and in organs. These amyloids are abnormal proteins that is produced by the bone marrow. There are over 30 different types of amyloids. Amyloidosis can be classified into two types: localized and systemic. Localized amyloidosis is when the amyloid proteins affect a single tissue in an organ, impairing the function of that certain tissue. System amyloidosis affects many tissues throughout the body, and can cause serious damage to organs.

There are three types of amyloidosis. In primary amyloidosis, this rare disease may occur entirely on its own. Secondary amyloidosis is a byproduct of another illness including infections such as tuberculosis or osteomyelitis, or inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, and inflammatory bowel disease. The third type, called familial amyloidosis, is particularly rare. It entails occurrence of amyloidosis due to flawed genetics which are passed onto offspring. Amyloidosis that happens due to aging is non-systemic, and may not have serious implications to the rest of the body. Amyloids are also one of the causes for Alzheimer’s disease.

Known side effects of amyloidosis

The symptoms of amyloidosis vary depending on which tissues or organs are affected. Some of these symptoms include ankle and leg edema (swelling), muscular weakness, unexpected weight loss, pins and needles in the extremities (or numbness), memory loss (such as Alzheimer’s), diarrhea, swollen tongue, and orthostatic hypotension (dizziness when standing up).

Specifically, amyloidosis may result in heart disease and irregular heart beats (arrhythmia), stroke, kidney disorders and failure, gastrointestinal perforation, gastrointestinal bleeding, enlarged liver, diminished function of the spleen, impaired adrenal and endocrine glands, growths on skin, discoloration of skin, enlarged tongue, swelling under the jaw, breathing difficulties, sleep apnea, swelling of the joints, fatigue, nervous system disorders, and carpal tunnel syndrome.

Body systems harmed by amyloidosis

Primary amyloidosis affects the heart, lungs, skin, tongue, intestines, liver, kidney, and spleen. Secondary amyloidosis affects the adrenal glands, lymph nodes, liver, kidneys, and spleen. Familial amyloidosis affects the peripheral nerves, the nerves of the wrist, and the eyes.

Food items or nutrients that may prevent amyloidosis

Some natural remedies for amyloidosis include:

  • Red wine – This drink contains resveratrol, and it may prevent severity of amyloidosis.
  • Germanium – A chemical found in certain plants, it can prevent the onset of amyloidosis and its effects on the body.
  • Low-salt diet – Excessive salt intake is known to block arteries, therefore, decreasing salt intake is a healthy way to reduce the severity of amyloidosis.
  • High-fiber foods – Foods like whole grains detoxify your body from unwanted substances in the gastrointestinal system.
  • Fruits and vegetables – Many fruits and vegetables such as oranges and tomatoes contain nutrients that are beneficial to the heart as well as other organs.
  • Omega-3s – Foods that contain omega-3 protect your heart and vascular system from the effects of amyloidosis

Treatments, management plans for amyloidosis

There is no known cure for amyloidosis, however, systematic treatments may apply:

  • Pain relievers
  • Medication for diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting
  • Diuretics to reduce fluid buildup
  • Blood thinners, or anticoagulants, that reduce clotting
  • Heart medicines to control trachycardia (heart rate)

Where to learn more


Amyloidosis is a rare disease that results from protein or amyloid build-up in tissues and in organs.

Amyloidosis may result from other diseases, and may cause other diseases itself.

Amyloidosis has no known cure, but may be managed through healthier lifestyles.

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