What are the symptoms of amyloidosis?

Specific symptoms of amyloidosis will depend on which organs are affected by the disease. This can make diagnosis particularly challenging in secondary amyloidosis because the underlying disease, disorder or condition may have similar symptoms.

General symptoms of amyloidosis include:

  • Anemia (low red blood cell count)

  • Clay-colored stools

  • Fatigue

  • Joint pain

  • Numbness or tingling in the arms or legs

  • Skin changes

  • Swollen tongue

  • Unexplained weight loss

  • Weakness

Serious symptoms that might indicate a life-threatening condition

Amyloidosis can lead to serious and potentially life-threatening complications. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you, or someone you are with, have amyloidosis and any of the following symptoms:

  • Change in level of consciousness or alertness, such as passing out, fainting, confusion, or disorientation

  • Decreased or no urine output

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath

  • Irregular heartbeat or palpitations

  • Persistent swelling of the ankles or other body parts

  • Severe dizziness

  • Swollen tongue

  • Uncontrolled bleeding

  • Unusual or sudden weakness or numbness


What is amyloidosis?

The term amyloid means “starch-like” and amyloidosis represents a group diseases in which abnormal proteins, called amyloids, accumulate in the body and cause problems with bodily functions. Doctors back in the 19th century believed that an abnormal material similar to starchy plant cellulose was the culprit – hence its name. Amyloidosis occurs with some types of cancer, but amyloid itself... Read more about amyloidosisintroduction


What causes amyloidosis?

The specific types of amyloidosis and the underlying cause are listed below.

AL (amyloid light chain) or primary amyloidosis

The cause of primary amyloidosis is not known, but it is related to the abnormal production of antibodies by cells called plasma cells. Plasma cells are found mainly in your bone marrow. Antibodies are made of proteins and help your body fight inf... Read more about amyloidosiscauses


How is amyloidosis treated?

Amyloidosis is a chronic condition. Treatment depends on the type of amyloidosis, your overall health, your treatment preferences, and the presence of any underlying diseases, disorders or conditions. All treatments have risks and benefits. Your health care provider is best able to guide your treatment decisions based on your specific circumstances.

Treatment of AL (amyloid li... Read more about amyloidosistreatments

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Aug 9, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Infections and Contagious Diseases

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