Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapy can help patients with neuropathies such as familial amyloid polyneuropathy (FAP) in their daily lives. Occupational therapists work with patients and their communities to enable them to cope with the disease and help in making the working environment more conducive for their occupation.

Occupational therapy for FAP

FAP is an autosomal dominant genetic disorder caused by mutations in the transthyretin (TTR) gene, which encodes for the TTR protein. The TTR protein is required for the transport of thyroxine and vitamin A in the body. The mutated form of TTR cannot carry out this function and instead forms clumps or amyloids in the nervous system, heart, kidneys, and eyes resulting in damage.

The amyloid deposits that accumulate in the nervous system can affect both the upper and lower limbs; the severity of symptoms depends on the type of the mutation and the stage of disease progression.

Physiotherapy is generally prescribed for patients with FAP in order to improve muscle strength and reduce pain. Along with physiotherapy, occupational therapy also might be required to help patients take better care of themselves, interact with family members, and work effectively with colleagues.

Occupational therapy is a very personalized regimen and therapists are trained to work with all age groups and at most locations — home, school, play area, or work.

Depending on the severity of the disease, occupational therapy is often combined with physiotherapy and might involve the use of special equipment to aid in movement.

How occupational therapy can help FAP patients?

Peripheral neuropathy is one the main hallmarks of FAP and there is a tendency for loss or improper upper and lower limb function. Occupational therapy can help improve limb function and also teach patients to avoid dangerous movements or postures.

The therapist can teach self-care activities, such as avoiding walking on terrain, that may pose a risk for falling or tripping. It also includes teaching how to smoothly transition from one position to another to avoid the risk of a sudden drop in blood pressure and risk of fainting.

Occupational therapy can be combined with recreation therapy to prevent patients from being isolated their surroundings and help them socialize, and therefore reduce stress and anxiety.


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