What is AL amyloidosis?
Amyloidosis is a disease that occurs when the body's antibody-producing cells do not function properly and produce abnormal protein fibers known as amyloids. These amyloids can form deposits in any organ in the body. For this reason, amyloidosis can affect people differently.
There are different types of amyloidosis. AL amyloidosis, also known as light-chain or primary amyloidosis, is the most common form of the disease.
AL amyloidosis most frequently affects the kidneys and heart. However, almost any other tissue can be affected, including the liver, nervous system, and soft tissues.
What are the signs and symptoms of AL amyloidosis?
Signs and symptoms of AL amyloidosis depend on which organs are affected, and may include:
- Shortness of breath
- Weight loss
- Purplish patches on the skin (purpura)
- Heart failure
- Protein in the urine (proteinuria)
- Kidney failure
- Feeling full quickly
- Numbness or tingling in hands or feet
- Joint abnormalities
- An enlarged tongue
- Hoarse voice
Who is at risk for AL amyloidosis?
The following factors may increase the risk for developing AL amyloidosis:
- Age. The average age for diagnosis is 65 years. Only about 10% of patients are less than 50 years old when diagnosed
- Gender. Men are slightly more affected than women
- Multiple myeloma. About 10% to 15% of patients with multiple myeloma also develop AL amyloidosis