Familial mediterranean fever (patient information)
For the WikiDoc page for this topic, click here
Familial Mediterranean Fever
Familial mediterranean fever On the Web
Directions to Hospitals Treating Familial mediterranean fever
Risk calculators and risk factors for Familial mediterranean fever
Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. 
Familial Mediterranean fever is a disorder passed down through families (inherited), which involves repeated fevers and inflammation that often affects the lining of the abdomen, chest, or joints.
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms usually begin between the ages of 5 and 15. Inflammation in the lining of the abdominal cavity, chest cavity, skin, or joints occurs, along with high fevers that usually peak in 12 to 24 hours. Attacks may vary in severity of symptoms. Patients are usually symptom-free between attacks.
Symptoms may include repeated episodes of:
- Abdominal pain
- Chest pain that is sharp and gets worse when taking a breath
- Fever or alternating chills and fever
- Joint pain
- Skin lesions that are red and swollen and range from 5 - 20 cm in diameter
What are the causes?
Familial Mediterranean fever is most often caused by a mutation in the MEFV gene. This gene creates proteins involved in inflammation.
The condition usually affects people of Mediterranean ancestry, especially non-Ashkenazi (Sephardic) Jews, Armenians, and Arabs, although people from other ethnic groups may also be affected.
This disease is very rare. Risk factors include a family history of familial Mediterranean fever or having Mediterranean ancestry.
There is no specific test to diagnose this disease. If genetic testing shows you have the mutation known to be associated with this condition, and your symptoms match a typical pattern, the diagnosis is nearly certain. Ruling out other possible diseases using laboratory tests or x-rays will help determine the diagnosis.
Certain blood tests may be higher than normal when done during an attack. Tests may include:
- Complete blood count (CBC)
- C-reactive protein
- Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR)
- Fibrinogen test
- White blood cell count
When to seek urgent medical care?
Call your health care provider if you or your child develop symptoms of this condition.
The goal of treatment for familial Mediterranean fever is to control symptoms. Colchicine, a medicine that reduces inflammation, may help during an attack and may prevent further attacks. It can also help prevent a serious complication called systemic amyloidosis.
What to expect (Outlook/Prognosis)?
There is no known cure for familial Mediterranean fever. Most people continue to have attacks, but the number and severity of attacks is different from person to person.
A serious complication is amyloidosis, a condition in which abnormal proteins build up in the organs and joints.