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Amyloidosis is a rare condition caused by the buildup of a protein called amyloid in one or more organs or tissues. Clumps of the abnormal proteins, called amyloid deposits, lead to damage of the affected area.

There are three different types of amyloidosis:

  • Primary amyloidosis is the most common form and has no known causes. It can lead to several conditions, including carpal tunnel syndrome, congestive heart failure and kidney failure.
  • Secondary amyloidosis occurs due to the presence of another disease, particularly chronic infections or inflammatory diseases such as cystic fibrosis, Hodgkin disease, multiple myeloma and tuberculosis.
  • Familial amyloidosis is passed on within families through genes, often affecting the central nervous system and kidneys.

Amyloidosis: what you should know

  • Symptoms depend on which area of the body is affected. Symptoms may include these:
    • Difficulty breathing
    • Fatigue
    • Irregular heart beat
    • Skin changes, such as easy bruising
    • Swelling of the arms, legs and tongue
    • Weight loss
  • Prognosis depends on which areas of the body are affected. Organ failure may result if the heart or kidney is damaged.

Care for people with amyloidosis at Rush

Experts at Rush draw on decades of experience and collaborate across disciplines to diagnose and treat complex diseases, such as amyloidosis. Rush welcomes patients seeking second opinions.

If you are diagnosed with amyloidosis, treatment will focus on destroying abnormal cells in the blood. Your care team may use the following:

If another disease caused amyloidosis, that condition will be treated aggressively in an attempt to slow the advancement of amyloidosis.

Why choose Rush for amyloidosis care

  • Rush consistently ranks among the best in the country by U.S. News & World Report in some of the programs that may be involved in your care, including nephrology (diseases that affect the kidneys).
  • Rush’s bone marrow transplant program is accredited by the Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy.
  • Specialists who see and treat the complex diseases that may cause amyloidosis or result from amyloidosis. These specialists communicate and collaborate with each other to solve problems together.

Departments and programs that treat this condition