Lehigh Valley Heart and Vascular Institute’s amyloidosis program is one of only a handful in Pennsylvania dedicated to the diagnosis and treatment of a condition that affects just 250,000 people in the U.S. Our collaborative, team approach is designed to effectively diagnose and treat this rare condition to help you live your best life.
Types of amyloidosis
There are two main types of amyloidosis – AL amyloidosis, also called primary amyloidosis, and transthyretin cardiac amyloidosis. Transthyretin cardiac amyloidosis also comes in two forms – hereditary and wild type. If you have hereditary amyloidosis, then you inherited a genetic mutation from your parents. Wild type develops on its own as your body ages. It is usually diagnosed after age 65.
Symptoms of amyloidosis
It sometimes takes medical detective work to diagnose amyloidosis because symptoms – such as numbness, tingling, pain and loss of function in the hand and fingers – can be the same as other conditions, such as carpal tunnel syndrome. You also may notice symptoms such as irregular heartbeat, difficulty swallowing, shortness of breath, severe fatigue and swelling in the legs and ankles. Our team works together across specialties to diagnosis you and design your treatment plan.
How is amyloidosis diagnosed?
If your doctor suspects amyloidosis, you will be closely followed through a variety of screening tests, including blood tests. You will also undergo a special imaging study known as technetium-99m pyrophosphate scintigraphy (PYP).
Early treatment is important
Medication can help manage your disease, but will not reverse your condition. If detected early, you can experience a good quality of life for many years to come.
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