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Hereditary amyloidosis

Hereditary amyloidosis is a condition in which abnormal protein deposits (called amyloid) form in almost every tissue in the body. Harmful deposits most often form in the heart, kidneys, and nervous system. These protein deposits damage the tissues and interfere with how organs work.

Causes

Hereditary amyloidosis is passed down from parents to their children (inherited). Genes may also play a role in primary amyloidosis.

Other types of amyloidosis are not inherited. They include:

  • Senile systemic: seen in people older than 70
  • Spontaneous: occurs without a known cause
  • Secondary: results from diseases such as cancer of the blood cells (myeloma)

Specific conditions include:

Treatment

Treatment to improve the function of damaged organs will help relieve some symptoms of hereditary amyloidosis. A liver transplant may be helpful to reduce the creation of harmful amyloid proteins. Talk to your health care provider about treatments.

Alternative Names

Amyloidosis - hereditary; Familial amyloidosis

References

Budd RC, Seldin DC. Amyloidosis. In: Firestein GS, Budd RC, Gabriel SE, McInnes IB, O'Dell JR, eds. Kelley and Firestein's Textbook of Rheumatology. 10th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017:chap 116.

Gertz MA. Amyloidosis. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 26th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 179.

Hawkins PN. Amyloidosis. In: Hochberg MC, Gravallese EM, Silman AJ, Smolen JS, Weinblatt ME, Weisman MH, eds. Rheumatology. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019:chap 177.

Review Date 9/24/2019

Updated by: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.