Skip to Content




is a disease that causes amyloid to collect in your organs. Amyloid is a protein that builds up in tissues and organs. Your nervous system, brain, heart, or digestive system can all be affected. Amyloidosis can be local (in one body area) or systemic (in your whole body). Signs and symptoms can range from mild to severe. Severe forms of amyloidosis can lead to organ failure and be life-threatening.

Common signs and symptoms of amyloidosis:

You may not have signs or symptoms right away. Any of the following may develop, depending on the organ or tissues involved:

  • An irregular heartbeat, an enlarged heart, or heart failure
  • Kidney failure
  • Memory problems or trouble thinking clearly
  • Swollen ankles and legs
  • Feeling tired and weak
  • Numbness, tingling, or pain in your hands or feet
  • Swollen or painful joints
  • Bruising easily, purple patches around your eyes
  • Shortness of breath
  • Changes in your nails, or patchy hair loss
  • Trouble swallowing, diarrhea that may be bloody, or constipation
  • A large tongue, full feeling when you eat, or weight loss without trying

Seek care immediately if:

  • You have sudden or severe shortness of breath at rest.
  • You have a fast or pounding heartbeat.
  • You are dizzy or faint when you stand quickly.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You have a fever.
  • You have new or worsening signs or symptoms.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.


Amyloidosis cannot be cured. Treatment is aimed at managing symptoms and reducing the amount of amyloid your body produces. Treatment may be needed for another health condition that is causing amyloidosis. You may need any of the following:

  • Medicines may be used to decrease inflammation causing joint pain or swelling. You may also need medicine to control nerve pain. Medicine may also be given to help your body get rid of extra fluid. Blood thinning medicine may also be needed. Chemotherapy or certain antibodies may be used to treat some types of amyloidosis.
  • A bone marrow transplant may be needed. This is a procedure used to replace your bone marrow with donor marrow. This is usually done in people who also have multiple myeloma. A stem cell transplant may be used instead for other kinds of amyloidosis.
  • Dialysis may be needed if you develop kidney failure. Dialysis is a procedure used to clean your blood.
  • Surgery may be used for severe amyloidosis, or if other treatments do not work. Surgery may be used to remove your spleen. You may need a kidney, liver, heart, or bone marrow transplant. A pacemaker may be put in to control your heartbeat if your heart is affected.

Manage amyloidosis:

  • Eat a variety of healthy foods. Healthy foods include fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy products, fish, whole-grain breads, cooked beans, and limited lean meats. Healthy foods can help your organs work correctly and increase your energy. Your healthcare provider will tell you if you need to be on a special diet. Examples include a low-protein or low-sodium (salt) diet. You may need to limit the amount of meat you eat if you need to be on a low-protein diet. This is because some proteins in meat may increase the amount of amyloid your body makes.
  • Drink liquids as directed to balance your fluid levels. You will need to drink enough liquid to prevent dehydration and help your organs work well. You may need to limit liquids depending on the kind of amyloidosis you have, or if you are getting dialysis. Work with your healthcare providers to find the right fluid balance for you. Your providers will tell you how much liquid to drink each day and which liquids are best for you.
  • Exercise as directed. Exercise can help keep relieve joint stiffness and pain. Exercise can also help your organs work well. If you feel short of breath, stop and rest. You may feel more tired while you are doing your daily activities. Rest as needed.
  • Ask about supplements that may help relieve symptoms. Fish oil supplements can help reduce inflammation. This may help with joint pain and stiffness. Ask about other vitamins, minerals, or supplements that can help control your symptoms. Do not take any supplements without talking to your healthcare provider.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Ā© Copyright IBM Corporation 2018 Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotesĀ® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or IBM Watson Health

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Learn more about Amyloidosis (Ambulatory Care)

Symptoms and treatments

Mayo Clinic Reference