Amyloid is an abnormal protein produced in the bone marrow and can be deposited in any organ or tissue. Amyloidosis occurs when the amyloid protein builds up in the organs and is a rare disease for which there is no cure. It frequently affects the heart, kidneys, liver, spleen, digestive tract, and nervous system. Symptoms of the disease don’t show until the condition has advanced and depend on which organs are affected.
There are different kinds of amyloidosis. The most common form is light chain amyloidosis (AL), in which the amyloid proteins that build up in the tissues are known as light chains. AL typically affects the heart, skin, kidneys, nerves, and liver. The second type is autoimmune amyloidosis (AA) and it occurs when the amyloid protein that builds up in the tissues is called the A protein. It can affect the spleen, kidneys, liver, adrenal glands, and lymph modes. The last type is called hereditary or familial amyloidosis is the most rare form of amyloidosis. Like its name suggests, it’s passed down through generations within a family. The proteins produced in this type can cause heart problems, carpal tunnel syndrome, and eye abnormalities.
There are treatments that can help with managing the symptoms and limit production of amyloid protein:
1. Dietary changes
There is no clear amyloidosis diet, but there are certain dietary modifications that are recommended by health professionals. A diet that includes lean protein, fiber, healthy fats, fruits, and vegetables can help. Those with amyloidosis often receive inadequate nutrients from food due to their symptoms, so drinking meal replacement shakes or smoothies can help patients get the nutrients they need.
Amyloidosis causes weakness and fatigue, but it helps doing some form of exercise that isn’t very strenuous. High-intensity exercises like running can be challenging to those with this disease so it’s recommended that sufferers engage in light to moderate-intensity workouts, such as tai chi, yoga, weight training, and walking. Regular movement can aid patients experiencing pain and fatigue.
3. Sleep therapy
Patients with amyloidosis experience severe fatigue and weakness, which can lead to them napping during the day and suffering from insomnia at night. This vicious cycle is made worse when encountering discomfort and pain during the night. Sleep therapy can include meditation and deep breathing exercises before bedtime. It’s best to talk to your doctor if you’re experiencing insomnia while suffering from amyloidosis.