Kidneys are undoubtedly immensely multitasked. Being it filtering the blood, maintaining the important fluids, or regulating the blood pressure, the functions of kidneys are so diverse that the disruption in any functionality can cause serious damage to this vital organ. So many diseases are directly or indirectly connected to the abnormal functioning of the kidneys. One such disease is called Amyloidosis. The purpose of this blog is to make our readers understand the link between kidneys and rare diseases. We will make this understanding possible by explaining how amyloidosis affects kidneys.
What is amyloidosis?
To actually know the link between amyloidosis and kidney disease we must first understand what amyloidosis is. Until now you might have heard about protein as an important macromolecule of the body but amyloid is one such type of protein that is known to be abnormal in its nature. The reason amyloid is an abnormal protein is that these proteins are not broken down and recycled by the body. In fact, amyloid forms aggregates of proteins by binding to other amyloid molecules. These aggregates, when increase inside some organ, damages that organ by tearing the tissues. Kidneys are one of the frequently affected organs of amyloidosis. Symptoms of amyloidosis depend upon the organs it has affected which in this case are the kidneys.
Kidney related amyloidosis
Amyloidosis can affect the kidney in two ways:
- Primary amyloidosis: In the first and the most common way the aggregates of amyloid proteins obstruct the basic functionality of the kidney to filter the waste from the blood. This causes the kidney to be partially damaged leading to the eventual failure of the kidney. Kidney failure then becomes the origin of serious health issues. This type of amyloidosis is known as primary amyloidosis of the kidney
Symptoms of primary amyloidosis
- Increase in other proteins such as albumin
- Inflammation in the areas such as legs and ankles
- A sudden decrease in the blood albumin
- Signs of nephrotic syndrome
- Excessive tiredness
- Other than primary amyloidosis, this condition can affect patients who already suffer from late-stage kidney failure. These patients are generally on any type of dialysis, hemodialysis, or peritoneal dialysis.
In this scenario of amyloidosis, the process of dialysis becomes unable to remove a certain type of protein known as beta-2 macroglobulin. This causes disruption in the blood filtering leading the kidney failure to attain a state of permanency. All of this creates a kidney degrading loop as an elevated disturbance in the kidney functioning causes the same protein to rise in the blood.
Symptoms of amyloidosis due to dialysis
The organs most affected by amyloidosis due to dialysis are joints, ligaments, and tendons. These organs get affected by becoming stiff, painful, and full of fluid. In some cases, the fluid in the bones causes its fracture. Other than these joints, some vital organs also get affected in severe cases of amyloidosis due to dialysis
Diagnosis of amyloidosis
Kidney related amyloidosis is diagnosed by some general tests of kidneys that include:
- Urine test: A urine test or urinalysis helps the doctors to check for raised levels of proteins especially amyloid and albumin. In this method of diagnosis, the technician examines the urine sample urine provided by the patient under the microscope.
- Blood test: In kidney-related problems, a blood test can be used to measure GFR. It is also used to indicate the presence of excess waste products in the blood.
- Recognizing any family history of this condition
- Invasive procedures such as kidney biopsy. In kidney biopsy tissue is cut off from the affected area to be examined for the aggregates of amyloid
- Physically examining the patient’s body for apparent symptoms
Treatment of amyloidosis
The treatment of amyloidosis depends on the type of kidney-related amyloidosis that a patient is suffering from.
For primary amyloidosis of the kidney, the treatment options are as follows:
- Medication: It might be a surprising fact that chemotherapy is used to treat this condition but the reason for it relies on the fact that chemotherapy is necessary to reduce the build-up of amyloid. Other than this some oral medications are used to
- Treating the conditions that are caused by the amyloidosis of kidneys. Some of these conditions include:
- Lowered kidney function
- Clinical depression
- High blood pressure
For amyloidosis caused by dialysis, the following are the treatment options:
- A Kidney transplant is always a considerable option when you are already on a dialysis procedure.
- If you are on hemodialysis, choosing a well-known and good dialysis center can make a huge difference. This is due to the fact that with more efficient hemodialysis, the protein builds up in the blood will be minimized and thus, the loop of kidney degradation will stop.
At Alfa Kidney Care, you will find such expertise in performing dialysis and other kidney-related treatments.
To know more about your kidneys, contact us at Alfa Kidney Care