Amyloidosis: What is it?
Amyloidosis is a chronic medical condition that occurs because of the buildup of amyloid, a protein that can affect normal bodily functions since it isn’t usually present in the body. Amyloid is formed when regular proteins in the body are altered and can interfere with the function of vital organs such as the heart, kidneys, liver, spleen, nervous system, and digestive tract. The presence of amyloid makes it more difficult for these organs to function, leading to a variety of uncomfortable and sometimes dangerous symptoms.
Do I need a MedicAlert bracelet for amyloidosis?
An amyloidosis bracelet helps first responders to identify your chronic medical condition, and notifies anyone around you to contact medical assistance if you have a medical crisis. Medical personnel are trained to look for a MedicAlert ID, so you should always wear a MedicAlert bracelet if you have amyloidosis. The MedicAlert ID will allow doctors to receive your medical information no matter where you are in the world, so you can enjoy life to its fullest with peace of mind.
The importance of an amyloidosis medical ID bracelet
Wearing a medical ID at all times allows your medical conditions to be known immediately in an emergency situation. With the presence of a MedicAlert medical ID, first responder can contact MedicAlert to obtain your complete health history.
Get protected 24/7 with a medical ID and member services.
How can a MedicAlert membership and ID help me?
MedicAlert Foundation is the original medical ID program and has been helping to save lives for 65 years. MedicAlert is a globally recognized symbol for medical emergencies and is responsible for saving more than 4 million lives worldwide. MedicAlert offers a membership that allows members to carry a MedicAlert ID, making sure that anyone around you is able to identify your chronic health condition in case you have a medical emergency. For members enrolled in MedicAlert, MedicAlert Foundation will even connect with your emergency contacts if you can’t, making sure that your loved ones know where you are and how you’re doing.
MedicAlert has helped with many successful amyloidosis stories by ensuring critical health information in your digital health profile is sent to medical professionals and first responders quickly no matter where you have a medical crisis. With a MedicAlert ID and membership, you can ensure that you’re receiving the best possible protection during an emergency.
Amylodosis causes and impacts
Causes of amyloidosis vary by subtype, but it generally occurs in combination with other diseases or through genetic conditions. However, some forms of amyloidosis have unknown causes. Risk factors can increase your chances of developing amyloidosis. Most cases of amyloidosis are found in individuals between ages 60-70, and are found in men more often than women. Certain types of amyloidosis are linked to genetically inherited traits. Finally, kidney dialysis, a treatment for kidney failure, can result in an increased chance of developing amyloidosis.
Amyloidosis affects vital organs, so it can be a scary condition to live with in your everyday life. The most important thing about living with amyloidosis is being well informed about your condition
s and ensuring others have the information they need to treat you if necessary. Here is everything you need to know about amyloidosis.
Types of amylodosis
Amyloidosis is a broad category for a number of subtypes of the condition. The causes of these subtypes vary. While some are hereditary, others stem from environmental factors such as underlying diseases, or even treatments such as long-term dialysis. Amyloidosis usually involves a similar set of symptoms, but different types of the condition will affect different organs and parts of the body.
The most common form of amyloidosis in developed countries is known as AL amyloidosis, also known as primary amyloidosis. AL stands for “light chain,” and is caused due to the body misfolding proteins, resulting in the accumulation of amyloid. AL amyloidosis can affect the heart, kidneys, liver, and nerves, presenting with a wide range of possible symptoms.
AA amyloidosis is another form of the condition and is usually caused because of inflammation from an underlying disease, such as arthritis. AA amyloidosis typically fades as the underlying illness is treated. Due to this, AA amyloidosis is rarely found in developed countries due to advancements in treatment for inflammatory diseases. AA amyloidosis can affect the kidneys, liver, and spleen.
Other forms of amyloidosis include hereditary amyloidosis, an inherited form of the condition that usually affects the nerves, heart, and kidneys, as well as localized amyloidosis, which only affects a single part of the body, usually the bladder, skin, throat, or lungs. Finally, there is wild-type amyloidosis, which occurs when the liver produces amyloid for reasons that researchers have not currently identified. This form of amyloidosis is most commonly found in men over the age of 70 and usually affects the heart.
How can amyloidosis affect you?
Since amyloidosis has so many sub-variants and can affect a diverse range of bodily organs depending on the form of the condition, symptoms related to amyloidosis can differ by type.. Individuals who have amyloidosis may experience swelling in their legs, fatigue, and weakness, shortness of breath even without much exercise or when lying in bed, numbness or tingling in the hands and feet, diarrhea, or constipation. Other symptoms include blood in the stool, inflammation of the tongue, soreness when swallowing, and an irregular heartbeat. Other symptoms may include weight loss, wrist pain, changes to the coloration of the skin,
or and easy bruising.
These symptoms can be challenging and frustrating to deal with. Many symptoms of amyloidosis are very uncomfortable and can make ordinary activities difficult. It’s important that you let the people in your life know about your condition so that they can try to accommodate your needs.
Although rare, complications related to amyloidosis can become life-threatening. Since amyloidosis affects your vital organs, the condition can result in extremely dangerous medical crises such as heart failure, kidney failure, and blood pressure regulation. If you feel cardiac amyloidosis symptoms or other symptoms related to vital organs worsening, you should seek medical attention immediately.
What should I engrave on an amyloidosis alert medical ID?
MedicAlert offers free custom engraving on all our medical ID products. The engraving should include any critical medical information that can protect and save your life if you are in an accident or have a medical emergency, including:
- Medical conditions
- Implanted devices
- Any other medical information that needs to be communicated to first responders.
Meet Sarah, MedicAlert member since 1984. Lives confidently with amyloidosis.
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