All you need to know about Amyloidosis – the rare disease Pervez Musharraf is suffering from

According to recent media reports, former Pakistan President and General, Pervez Musharraf (retired), is dealing with a serious health condition. Musharraf has been living in Dubai for the last six years, where he has been getting treatment for a rare disease called amyloidosis. Sources state that his health has worsened in the last three weeks due to a complication.

General Pervez Musharraf’s family took to Twitter and said:

He is not on the ventilator. He has been hospitalized for the last 3 weeks due to a complication of his ailment (amyloidosis). He is going through a difficult stage where recovery is not possible and organs are malfunctioning. Pray for ease in his daily living.

About Amyloidosis

According to NHS, Amyloidosis is the name for a group of rare, serious conditions caused by a build-up of an abnormal protein called amyloid in organs and tissues throughout the body, which interferes with their normal function. Amyloid is an abnormal protein that is produced in the bone marrow and can be deposited in any tissue or organ.

Amyloidosis can affect different organs in different people. Amyloid deposits can build up in the heart, brain, kidneys, spleen, liver, nervous system, digestive tract, and other parts of the body. Severe amyloidosis can lead to life-threatening organ failure.

Types of Amyloidosis

There are many different types of amyloidosis. Some varieties are hereditary. Others are caused by outside factors, such as inflammatory diseases or long-term dialysis. Many types affect multiple organs, while others affect only one part of the body.

  • AL amyloidosis (immunoglobulin light chain amyloidosis): AL amyloidosis is also called primary amyloidosis. It usually affects the heart, kidneys, liver and nerves.
  • AA amyloidosis: Also known as secondary amyloidosis, this variety is usually triggered by an inflammatory disease, such as rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Hereditary amyloidosis (familial amyloidosis). This inherited disorder often affects the nerves, heart and kidneys. It occurs when the liver produces an abnormal protein called transthyretin (TTR).
  • Wild-type amyloidosis: This variety of amyloidosis occurs when the TTR protein made by the liver is normal but produces amyloid for unknown reasons.

Symptoms of Amyloidosis

Amyloidosis symptoms usually depend on which tissues and organs are affected. Some common symptoms include:

  • Feeling lightheaded or fainting, particularly after standing or sitting up
  • Numbness or a tingling feeling in the hands and feet (peripheral neuropathy)
  • Nausea
  • Numbness, tingling and pain in the wrist, hand and fingers (carpal tunnel syndrome)
  • Easy bruising
  • Organ failure
  • Swelling of your ankles and legs
  • Severe fatigue and weakness
  • Shortness of breath with minimal exertion
  • Unable to lie flat in bed due to shortness of breath
  • Diarrhoea, possibly with blood, or constipation
  • Unintentional weight loss of more than 10 pounds (4.5 kilograms)
  • An enlarged tongue, which sometimes looks rippled around its edge
  • Skin changes, such as thickening or easy bruising, and purplish patches around the eyes
  • An irregular heartbeat
  • Difficulty swallowing

Treatment of Amyloidosis

Medical experts have not yet devised a cure for amyloidosis. The amyloid deposits cannot be directly removed. However, there are treatments to stop more of the abnormal proteins from being produced and treat your symptoms. Treatment depends upon the kind of amyloidosis.

In most cases, the treatment involves chemotherapy. Chemotherapy damages abnormal bone marrow cells and stops them from producing the abnormal proteins that form amyloid deposits. Steroids are usually given to patients along with chemotherapy to boost the effectiveness of the chemotherapy drugs. They may also lessen the patient’s chances of having a bad reaction to chemotherapy.

About Pervez Musharraf

Musharraf was born in New Delhi and took power in a coup in 1999 in Pakistan. He served as president of Pakistan from 2001 to 2008. He launched the Kargil operation without the civilian government`s approval. Currently, he is facing charges for the 2007 assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.

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