FMF Disease

1 What is Familial Mediterranean Fever?

Familial Mediterranean fever is an inflammatory disorder that causes recurrent fevers and painful inflammation of the abdomen, lungs and joints.

It is a hereditary disease that mostly affects people of Mediteranean decent although it can affect other ethnic groups.

It is usally diagnosed during childhood.

Although there is no cure for familial Mediterranean fever, the signs and symptoms can be releived by certain treatment plans.

2 Symptoms

Most people with familial Mediterranean fever experience their first symptoms during childhood. These symptoms occur in attacks that last from one to three days with arthritic attacks lasting for weeks or months.

The following are the signs and symptoms of familial Mediterranean fever:

  • Fever
  • Abdominal pain
  • Chset pain
  • Painfll and swollen joints
  • Constipation that is usually followed by diarrhea
  • A reddish rash on the legs, mostly below the knees
  • Muscle aches and sometimes a swollen
  • Tender scrotum

Symptom-free periods may last from a few days to several years.

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3 Causes

Familial mediterranean fever is caused by a mutation in the MEFV gene.

This mutation causes problems in the regulation of inflammation in the body.

While some mutations may cause severe cases, others cause mold cases.

4 Making a Diagnosis

The following tests can be performed in order to diagnose familial Mediterranean fever:

  • Physical examination
  • Taking the family history of the patient
  • Blood tests to find the level of white blood cells which increase during inflammation
  • Genetic testing to find out if the patient has a mutation in the MEFV gene

5 Prevention

As Familial Mediterranean Fever is hereditary, it is unpreventable.

There is no cure for familial Mediterrenean fever although the signs and symptoms can be treated.

Medications given include drugs like Colchicine , rilonacept ( Arcalyst) and anakinra (Kineret) that reduce inflammation and prevents frequent attacks.

Side effects of Cochicine are common and they include blaoting , abdominal cramps and diarrhea.

6 Lifestyle and Coping

Lifestyle modifications are necessary in order to cope with familial Mediterranean fever.

Living with familial Mediterranean fever can be annoying especially since attacks can happen at any moment.

People affected can cope by doing the following:

  • Learning about familial Mediterranean fever
  • Joining support groups or talking to people who are living with this condition or those that know more about it

7 Risks and Complications

The risk factors of familial Meditarranean fever include:

  • Having a family history of the disease
  • Being of Mediterranean ancestry

Several complications can occur if patient is not treated or treatement is ineffective.

These include:

  • Accumulation of amyloid A, an abnormal protein, in blood . This protein can accumulate in organs and can cause organ dysfunction.
  • Kidney damage due to accumulation of amyloid in the kidneys. This usually laeds to the nephrotic syndrome, a syndrome associated with large amounts of protein in urine. Nephrotic syndrome can further lead to the patient developing kidney failure.
  • Infertility in women can occur if there is inflammation the repeoductive organs like the ovaries or uterus.
  • Joint pain is one of the most common symptoms of familial Mediterranean fever. The mostly affected joints are the knees,ankles, hips and elbows.
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