Definition

Fabry disease is a health problem that causes fatty materials to build up in the blood and blood vessels. The buildup slows or blocks blood flow to organs.

Causes

Fabry disease is caused by changes in a gene. The faulty gene passed on by the mother.

Males with the faulty gene will have the disease. Females who have a single copy of the gene are called carriers. Most will not have any symptoms, but they can pass the gene to their children. Some women may be as affected as men.

Risk Factors

You are at risk if you or someone in your family has this disease.

Symptoms

Symptoms may start when you are a child or young adult. Common ones are:

  • Pain and burning feeling in the hands and feet—often worse with exercise, lack of energy, or fever
  • Spotted, dark reddish-purple skin wounds between the belly button and the knees
  • Sweating more or less
  • Problems seeing
  • Delayed growth
  • Ringing in the ears
  • A feeling of spinning when you are not moving

As adults, men may have:

  • Kidney problems
  • Heart problems
  • Frequent stools, diarrhea
  • Problems breathing
Stroke
Stroke
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Diagnosis

You will be asked about your symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done. Diagnosis is usually made based on symptoms. Your blood may be tested. This can confirm the disease.

Treatment

There is no cure for Fabry disease.

You may be given medicine to:

  • Replace enzymes
  • Treat pain
  • Thin your blood
  • Manage heart problems

The kidneys may be harmed from blood flow problems. They may need:

  • Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and/or an angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs)—to stabilize kidney function
  • Hemodialysis—if they aren't working properly
  • Kidney transplantation—if kidney failure has happened

Prevention

There is no known way to prevent Fabry disease.

Consider counseling if you or someone in your family has Fabry disease. The counselor can show you the risk of passing it on to your child.

Revision Information

  • Reviewer: Kari Kassir, MD
  • Review Date: 06/2018 -
  • Update Date: 07/02/2018 -