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Macular amyloidosis: causes, symptoms and treatment

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

Macular amyloidosis is a disease that affects the skin; it is a form of cutaneous amyloidosis referred to as protein accumulation in the skin (amyloid) staining lesions generating type dark brown.

Macular amyloidosis is usually associated with other skin diseases, such as atopic dermatitis. It is a rare disease and differs from systemic amyloidosis, in which the deposit of a substance, known as amyloid, is found exclusively on the skin. It should be understood that amyloid is an abnormal protein produced by the bone marrow and can be lodged in any tissue or organ. When it installs in the skin, it is known as macular amyloidosis.

In this FastlyHealarticle, we will explain the causes of macular amyloidosis, its symptoms, and treatment.

Why Macular Amyloidosis Occurs – Causes

Cutaneous amyloidosis is a type of amyloidosis that is localized explicitly on the skin. It differs from systemic because amyloid deposits are found exclusively on the skin. About amyloidosis, skin involvement is observed in between 20 and 40% of cases, according to a review article on skin compromise amyloidosis [1].

There are three types of cutaneous amyloidosis: lichenoid, nodular, and macular, the latter being the most common form of cutaneous amyloidosis.

Macular amyloidosis is a common disease that affects some, especially women in adulthood. It has certain specific characteristics that define it, one of which is the presence of macules or pruritic spots located on the back, generally. This is also defined as a chronic form of cutaneous amyloidosis, where an accumulation of a protein, known as amyloid (protein described in 1854), is abnormally produced by the bone marrow.

The dermatologist who diagnoses this disease will indicate the appropriate treatment and provide all the necessary information.

The exact causes of the production of this abnormal protein known as amyloid are unknown, as well as why it is deposited on the skin. However, the following hypotheses have been considered as possible causes of macular amyloidosis:

  1. The first when the cause of amyloid production is not known, but it is related to abnormal production of antibodies by plasma cells (immune cells).
  2. The second is about a chronic inflammatory process resulting from a long-standing disease.
  3. Hereditary amyloidosis: transmission of the disease through genes.

It is also associated with certain risk factors such as:

  • Age: frequent in adulthood between 30-60 years.
  • Sex: it is much more frequent in the female sex.
  • Race: the African race has a greater risk of suffering from it.
  • Geographic location: it is most common in Asia, the Middle East, Africa, South America, and Central America.

Symptoms of macular amyloidosis

The symptoms of macular amyloidosis are particular; in fact, it mainly affects adult women and manifests itself with signs such as:

  1. Dark brown spots or itchy hyperpigmented bumps.
  2. Intense itching
  3. Location: on the back, especially in the scapular or paravertebral region.
  4. It can spread to the chest, buttocks, and extremities.
  5. Inaccurate edges.

Macular amyloidosis: treatment and prognosis

Depending on the characteristics of the disease, the doctor will indicate the necessary treatment. Before this, the most effective way to diagnose macular amyloidosis, in addition to the characteristic clinical manifestations, was to perform a biopsy in the affected area.

The treatment of macular amyloidosis may include the following:

  • Antihistamines, commonly known as antiallergics, such as chlorphenamine or diphenhydramine. They inhibit histamine and, therefore, reduce the need for scratching.
  • To decrease inflammation, agents such as dimethyl sulfoxide are often used.
  • Ultraviolet radiation and surgical removal of the macules are also commonly used.
  • The effect of corticosteroid and local anesthetic medications is poor.

The disease is described as a long-term pathology that is difficult to eradicate. It is progressive, and although it is generally related to an underlying cause, its prognosis is not clearly defined.

Follow-up by the specialist is vital in the optimal treatment and prognosis of this chronic skin disease, which has the possibility of progressing to systemic amyloidosis, that is, affecting an internal organ. Treatment will be individualized based on the age of the patient and the clinical characteristics of the amyloidosis.

This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Macular Amyloidosis: causes, symptoms, and treatment , we recommend that you enter our Skin, hair and nails category .

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