ON THIS PAGE: You will find out more about steps to take to help cope with physical, social, and emotional side effects. This page includes several links outside of this guide to other sections of this website. To see other pages in this guide, use the colored boxes on the right side of your screen, or click “Next” at the bottom.
Fear of treatment side effects is common after a diagnosis of amyloidosis, but it may help to know that preventing and controlling side effects is a major focus of your health care team. This is called palliative or supportive care, and it is an important part of the overall treatment plan.
Below are some of the side effects that are common to amyloidosis and its treatments.
Anemia. Anemia is common in people with amyloidosis, especially those receiving chemotherapy. Anemia is an abnormally low level of red blood cells (RBCs). RBCs contain hemoglobin (an iron protein) that carries oxygen to all parts of the body. If the level of RBCs is too low, parts of the body do not get enough oxygen and cannot work properly. Most people with anemia feel tired or weak.
Depression. A normal reaction to an amyloidosis diagnosis is one of shock, disbelief, and denial. Symptoms of anxiety or depression, irritability, and problems with sleep or appetite often follow. Usually, patients begin to feel better within weeks or several months and experience an increased sense of control. However, if these symptoms continue, treatment may be needed.
Fatigue. Fatigue is extreme exhaustion or tiredness, and it is a common problem for people with amyloidosis. Patients who feel fatigue often say that even a small effort, such as walking across a room, can seem like too much.
Learn more about the most common side effects of amyloidosis and different treatments, along with ways to prevent or control them. Side effects depend on a variety of factors, including the type of amyloidosis, the length and dosage of treatment(s), and your overall health.
Before treatment begins, talk with your doctor about possible side effects of each type of treatment you will be receiving. Ask which side effects are most likely to happen, when they are likely to occur, and what can be done to prevent or relieve them. And, ask about the level of caregiving you may need during treatment and recovery, as family members and friends often play an important role in the care of a person with amyloidosis. Learn more about caregiving.
In addition to physical side effects, there may be psychosocial (emotional and social) effects as well. Patients and their families are encouraged to share their feelings with a member of their health care team who can help with coping strategies. Learn more about the importance of addressing such needs, including concerns about managing the cost of your care.
During and after treatment, be sure to tell the health care team about the side effects you experience, even if you feel they are not serious. Sometimes, side effects can last beyond the treatment period, called a long-term side effect. A side effect that occurs months or years after treatment is called a late effect. Treatment of both types of effects is an important part of survivorship care. Learn more by reading the After Treatment section or talking with your doctor.
To continue reading this guide, choose “Next” (below, right) to see a section about what tests and check-ups you need after you’ve finished treatment. Or, use the colored boxes located on the right side of your screen to visit any section.