Amyloidosis is a collection of diseases that occurs when the body produces an abnormal protein called amyloid. More than 30 different types of protein can lead to amyloidosis, which can damage your heart, kidneys, liver, gastrointestinal tract, nervous system, and other organ systems.
Choosing the right treatment starts with identifying the type of protein causing the disease and the organs being affected. Duke’s team of specialists works together to diagnose your condition and manage your care. We offer the latest treatment advances to limit your body’s production of amyloid protein and the complications that can occur.
Common Types of Amyloidosis
There are many different types of amyloidosis, but the most common are:
- AL amyloidosis (also known as primary amyloidosis or light chain amyloidosis) can affect the heart, lungs, kidneys, liver, soft tissue, and nervous system.
- TTR amyloidosis is caused by the protein transthyretin. It can damage the heart and nervous system. It appears in two forms: hereditary amyloidosis and wild-type amyloidosis.
Symptoms Often Overlooked
Since different organs may be involved, the symptoms of amyloidosis can be overlooked because they mimic other common diseases. For example, if your heart is affected, you may experience heart failure and heart rhythm abnormalities like atrial fibrillation. If your nervous system is damaged, you may experience numbness, tingling, or pain. If your kidneys are affected, you may experience foamy urine or kidney failure.
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If amyloidosis is suspected, a tissue sample is taken from your abdomen, bone marrow, or the affected organ.
Lab Work and Imaging
Blood work and imaging tests such as X-rays, MRI (including cardiac MRI), CT scans, and nuclear medicine scans may also be performed to confirm the diagnosis and extent of the disease.
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Why Choose Duke
Our Team of Amyloidosis Specialists
Because different organs may be affected, you will receive care from a team of specialists who treat amyloidosis, as well as the complications that can occur. The Duke team of amyloidosis specialists includes hematologist/oncologists, bone marrow transplant specialists, cardiologists, kidney specialists, gastroenterologists, and neurologists. We have extensive experience treating amyloidosis and its complications. We discuss your care, present opinions, and offer coordinated treatment recommendations and follow-up.
Access to Promising New Therapies
You may have access to our ongoing clinical trials, which study new therapeutic approaches that are not widely available or accessible at most other hospitals.
Cancer Support Services
Our comprehensive support services are here for you throughout your treatment journey. We help minimize the side effects of treatment and offer support to help you cope with the emotional and psychological effects of diagnosis and treatment. You may also utilize our services focusing on nutrition, guided imagery, anxiety control, and meditation.