6 Alarming Signs Of Kidney Amyloidosis, And Who Is At Risk Of This Extremely Dangerous Condition

Date May 30, 2018

Amyloidosis is a condition in which abnormal protein called amyloid accumulates in organs and tissues. It can affect the nervous system, heart, GI tract, liver, and kidneys. Causes of the condition aren’t always clear, and symptoms depend on which organ is affected.

Among all causes of kidney disease, amyloid buildup is rather uncommon one, but it has to be taken seriously and treated properly.

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What are the symptoms of kidney amyloidosis?

The kidneys are your body’s filter. Their main job is to remove waste and water from your blood and produce urine.

When amyloid accumulates in the kidneys, they can’t function as they should, and kidney failure may occur. Signs and symptoms of kidney failure include the following:

  • swelling in your lower body due to water retention;
  • swollen face;
  • puffy eyes;
  • feeling unusually tired;
  • shortness of breath;
  • increased levels of protein in urine (albuminuria).

If you have these symptoms, see your doctor as soon as you can. They may be caused by other kidney-related issues, and your doctor will establish what exactly is causing them, and prescribe appropriate treatment.

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Who is more likely to develop kidney amyloidosis?

Some people are more likely than others to get kidney amyloidosis. Factors that put you at a higher risk include the following:

  • being male – about 70% of those affected are men;
  • having myeloma;
  • older age;
  • being on dialysis;
  • being of African-American descent;
  • a family history of amyloidosis.

Diagnosis and treatment of kidney amyloidosis

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Your doctor will start by reviewing your medical history and performing a physical exam. He or she will ask you about your symptoms and order a blood and/or urine test to check for abnormal levels of protein.

A biopsy (taking a small tissue sample and examining it in the lab) can be used to determine which type of protein is causing trouble.

A genetic test may be needed if you have a family history of hereditary amyloidosis.

Amyloidosis can’t be cured, but it can be treated. Treatment depends on the type of amyloidosis and may include the following:

  • chemotherapy;
  • steroids;
  • dialysis;
  • kidney transplant.

Those with kidney amyloidosis usually have to modify their diet. The recommended diet changes may include the following:

  • limiting sodium (salt) intake to a minimum;
  • reducing fluid intake;
  • limiting protein in the diet;
  • limiting foods high in fat and cholesterol.

Source: NIDDK, Mayo Clinic, WebMD

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This article is solely for informational purposes. Do not self-diagnose or self-medicate, and in all cases consult a certified healthcare professional before using any information presented in the article. The editorial board does not guarantee any results and does not bear any responsibility for any harm that may result from using the information provided in the article.