Familial Mediterranean fever
Familial Mediterranean fever
Familial Mediterranean fever is an inflammatory disorder that causes recurrent fevers and painful inflammation of your abdomen, lungs and joints.
Familial Mediterranean fever is an inherited disorder that usually occurs in people of Mediterranean origin — including Sephardic Jews, Arabs, Italians, Armenians and Turks. But it may affect any ethnic group.
Familial Mediterranean fever is typically diagnosed during childhood. While there's no cure for this disorder, you may be able to relieve signs and symptoms of familial Mediterranean fever — or even prevent them altogether — by sticking to your treatment plan.
Signs and symptoms of familial Mediterranean fever usually begin during childhood. Signs and symptoms occur in bouts called attacks that last one to three days.
Signs and symptoms of familial Mediterranean fever include:
Between attacks, you'll likely feel normal. Symptom-free periods may be as short as a week or as long as months.
When to see a doctor
See your doctor if you or your child has a sudden fever accompanied by pain in the abdomen, chest and joints.
Familial Mediterranean fever is caused by a gene mutation that's passed from parents to children. The gene mutation causes problems in regulating inflammation in the body.
In people with familial Mediterranean fever, the gene mutation occurs in a gene called MEFV. Many different mutations in MEFV are linked to familial Mediterranean fever. Some mutations may cause very severe cases, while others may be milder.
Familial Mediterranean fever is inherited as an autosomal recessive trait, meaning that you must inherit the mutated gene from both parents in order to develop the condition.
Autosomal recessive inheritance pattern
To have an autosomal recessive disorder, you inherit two mutated genes, one from each parent. These disorders are usually passed on by two carriers. Their health is rarely affected, but they have one ...
Factors that may increase the risk of familial Mediterranean fever include:
Complications can occur if familial Mediterranean fever isn't treated. Complications can include:
Preparing for your appointment
If you have signs and symptoms of familial Mediterranean fever, you may begin by seeing your family doctor. You may be referred to a doctor who specializes in inflammatory diseases (rheumatologist).
Because appointments can be brief, and because there's often a lot of ground to cover, it's a good idea to arrive prepared. Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment.
What you can do
Your time with your doctor is limited, so preparing a list of questions can help you make the most of your time together. List your questions from most important to least important in case time runs out. Questions you might want to ask your doctor include:
What to expect from your doctor
Tests and diagnosis
Tests and procedures used to diagnose familial Mediterranean fever include:
Treatments and drugs
There's no cure for familial Mediterranean fever. However, treatment can help prevent signs and symptoms.
Medications used to control signs and symptoms of familial Mediterranean fever include:
Coping and support
Learning that you or your child has a chronic illness, such as familial Mediterranean fever, can be upsetting and frustrating. Here are some tips that may help you cope:
Last Updated: 2012-10-09
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