Familial Mediterranean Fever (FMF)

Familial Mediterranean Fever is an inflammatory disorder which is hereditary in nature i.e. passed down through family. It causes recurrent and painful inflammation of abdomen, lungs and joints along with recurrent fever. Although familial mediterranean fever is an inherited disorder and is commonly seen in individuals of mediterranean origin such as Sephardic Jews, Italians, Arabs, Turks and Armenians, other ethnic groups may also be affected by this disorder. Familial Mediterranean fever is usually diagnosed during childhood. As of now, there is no cure for this condition; however patient may find relief from signs and symptoms through treatment or may also be able to prevent them entirely. The main aim of treatment is controlling the symptoms and the severity of the attacks. The severity of this condition differs from patient to patient.

Signs and Symptoms of Familial Mediterranean Fever (FMF)

Etiology and Risk Factors for Familial Mediterranean Fever (FMF)

The main cause of Familial Mediterranean fever is a mutation in the MEFV gene. This gene mutation causes problems where the body is not able to regulate inflammation. Although familial mediterranean fever is an inherited disorder and commonly occurs in individuals of mediterranean origin such as Sephardic Jews, Italians, Arabs, Turks and Armenians, other ethnic groups may also be affected by this disorder.

Risk Factors for Familial Mediterranean Fever (FMF)

  • Family history of this condition increases the risk of this disease in an individual.
  • Mediterranean ancestry or origin also increases the risk of this disease. Although any ethnic group can be affected by Familial Mediterranean fever, it more commonly affects Arabs, Sephardic Jews, Italians Turks and Armenians.

Signs and Symptoms of Familial Mediterranean Fever (FMF)

Symptoms usually start during childhood and commonly occur in episodes or attacks lasting from 1 to 3 days. The patient may feel like his/her normal self in between the attacks. These periods of normalcy can be as short as a week or as long as months.

The Signs And Symptoms Of Familial Mediterranean Fever Are:

  • Fever
  • Chest pain
  • Abdominal pain
  • Pain and swelling in the joints
  • Constipation which is followed by diarrhea
  • Rash, which is red in color, on the legs and below the knees in particular
  • Muscle pain
  • Tenderness and swelling in the scrotum

Serious \Life Threatening Symptoms for Familial Mediterranean Fever (FMF)

  • Shortness of breath
  • Fainting or passing out
  • Sudden fever with joint, abdominal and chest pain.

Investigations for Familial Mediterranean Fever (FMF)

  • There is no particular test to diagnose this condition, but some tests will help determine it and some will help in ruling out other conditions to make the diagnosis certain.
  • Physical exam.
  • Family medical history.
  • Blood tests to check for increased levels of specific markers which indicate an inflammatory condition in the body.
  • Genetic testing to find out if the patient's MEFV gene contains the mutation related to familial Mediterranean fever.

Treatment for Familial Mediterranean Fever (FMF)

As of now, there is no cure for this condition; however patient may find relief from signs and symptoms through treatment or may also be able to prevent them entirely. The main aim of treatment is controlling the symptoms and the severity of the attacks. The severity of this condition differs from patient to patient.

Medications Which Help In Managing The Signs And Symptoms Are:

  • Colchicine helps in reducing the inflammation in the body and also helps in warding off further attacks. The doctor will decide the best dosing strategy for the patient. Possible side effects are: muscle weakness, numbness in hands or feet and diarrhea.
  • If colchicine doesn't help, other medicines to help control the symptoms include: anakinra (Kineret) and rilonacept (Arcalyst).

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD, FFARCSI

Last Modified On: June 22, 2016

Pain Assist Inc.

Pramod Kerkar
  Note: Information provided is not a substitute for physician, hospital or any form of medical care. Examination and Investigation is necessary for correct diagnosis.

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