My father was recently diagnosed with amyloidosis. Am I at risk?

Amyloidosis is rare, but anyone can develop this condition that causes abnormal proteins to build up in your body's tissues and organs. It's possible you may be at increased risk if your father has a hereditary type of amyloidosis.

Several types of amyloidosis can be passed down in families through abnormal changes (mutations) in a gene. The most common type of hereditary amyloidosis involves mutations to the transthyretin gene (TTR). It's sometimes called ATTR amyloidosis.

However, most amyloidosis cannot be genetically passed on by parents to their children. Hereditary amyloidosis is very rare compared with other types of amyloidosis.

Other factors that increase your risk of amyloidosis include:

  • Age. Most people diagnosed with the most common type of amyloidosis — AL amyloidosis — are older than 40. Usually they're between ages 60 and 70. AA amyloidosis, on the other hand, can occur at any age, even in children.

    Hereditary amyloidosis symptoms usually start in adulthood. In some cases, symptoms may start around the same age as they did in other family members who've had the condition.

  • Sex. Almost 70 percent of people with AL amyloidosis — again, the most common type — are men.
  • Other diseases. Having an ongoing (chronic) infectious or inflammatory disease increases your risk of AA amyloidosis. Examples of inflammatory conditions are rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, juvenile arthritis, psoriatic arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease. Examples of chronic infections are Hodgkin lymphoma, tuberculosis and familial Mediterranean fever.
  • Kidney dialysis. If you're on dialysis, it can't always remove large proteins from the blood. Abnormal proteins can build up in your blood and eventually be deposited in tissue.

Also, a small number of people with a form of bone marrow cancer called multiple myeloma develop AL amyloidosis.

Although some factors increase your risk of amyloidosis, know that most people with amyloidosis don't have any known risk factors. Talk to your doctor if you have concerns about your risk of amyloidosis or you're experiencing any concerning health issues.


Rajiv K. Pruthi, M.B.B.S.

May 01, 2019 See more Expert Answers