FMF disease is a recurrent illness that is inherited primarily by persons of European and Middle Eastern decent, yet its cause is still questionable.
Ongoing acute attacks of peritonitis, arthritis, various skin lesions and fever are common with this illness.
There are lethal complications of amyloidosis, which can lead to renal failure, however, familial Mediterranean fever is not known as a benign condition. Other names include familial paroxysmal, periodic fever syndrome, and benign paroxysmal peritonitis.
Generally signs or symptoms of FMF disease start throughout a person’s first twenty years of life, however, familial Mediterranean fever symptoms peak anywhere between the ages of five and fifteen. Because some people react differently, the frequency of attacks vary immensely, as do the duration of these acute attacks.
For instance, most patients experience recurring attacks a couple times monthly, nonetheless, others may have attacks as frequent as several times per week while others may only have these attacks once a year. One factor that typically remains constant with this rare disease is that attacks will last anywhere between 24 to 48 hours.
Those patients who are in remission for years can sometimes follow up with frequent recurring attacks, and this can occur especially during pregnancy.
Although acute attacks vary with FMF disease, it has been noted that environmental factors play a role in these attacks. This may include cold weather or living in colder conditions and seasons throughout the winter months.
In addition, the body may become less sensitive to these attacks as one gets older, leading to less frequent and less severe acute attacks.
FMF diagnosis is evasive with patients who experience either atypical or limited symptoms. Doctor’s will be able to diagnose a patient based on their current symptoms. There are various ways to treat someone with FMF disease.
One in particular is colchicine familial Mediterranean fever treatment, which has been proven to be very effective as it reduces the number of acute attacks substantially. Younger patients should receive a trial of intermittent colchicine therapy prior to administering long term colchicine prophylaxis.
If this treatment is not effective, it is because the patient does not respond well to the provided drug. For those who have issues with gastrointestinal intolerance to the drug colchicine, doctor’s will reduce the given dose which in turn will benefit the patient.
FMF prognosis has been excellent for North American patients due to the efficacy of colchicine. Despite rare cases, the use of this drug has contributed to close to a symptom-free condition in most patients, while not affecting the development and growth pattern of both boys and girls.
As mentioned earlier, amyloidosis has been associated with FMF disease. The good news is that long term colchicine therapy has had a very positive impact for patients who are inclined to developing amyloidosis. If you feel you may be experiencing some signs and symptoms of familial Mediterranean fever or are curious to know more, it is always a good idea to seek the guidance and counseling of your family doctor or a professional who is educated in the area of this disease.