Amyloidosis

(Amyloid; Primary Amyloid; Secondary Amyloid; Hereditary Amyloid)

Definition

Amyloidosis is a group of rare diseases. It involves deposits of a protein called amyloid. These proteins build up in body tissues and organs. There are three major forms:
  • Primary amyloidosis—found in the heart, lungs, skin, tongue, thyroid gland, intestines, liver, kidneys, and blood vessels
  • Secondary amyloidosis—found in the spleen, liver, kidneys, adrenal glands, and lymph nodes
  • Hereditary amyloidosis—found in the nerves, heart, blood vessels, and kidneys

Causes

The causes of amyloidosis vary in its different forms:
  • Primary amyloidosis—caused by the deposit of antibody fragments; associated with bone marrow disorders such as multiple myeloma
  • Secondary amyloidosis—develops in response to chronic infection or inflammatory disease
  • Hereditary amyloidosis—caused by mutations of amyloid in the blood

Risk Factors

Men older than 40 are at increased risk for primary and secondary amyloidosis. People who are of Portuguese, Swedish, or Japanese descent are at increased risk for hereditary amyloidosis. Factors that may increase your risk of getting amyloidosis include:
  • Primary amyloidosis —Multiple myeloma
  • Secondary amyloidosis
  • Hereditary amyloidosis
    • Family history of amyloidosis
    • Family history of Mediterranean fever

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