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Alpha mannosidosis

Patient information A-Z

What is Alpha mannosidosis?

Alpha mannosidosis is a lysosomal storage disorders. Your body is made up of trillions of individual cells and each cell contains a small part called the lysosome. This is primarily responsible for breaking down and recycling worn out cell components. Inside the lysosome are enzymes which perform this very important housekeeping role. In alpha mannosidosis the necessary enzymes are not working effectively allowing these products to build up and become stored in very specific areas of your body. There are many different enzymes in your lysosomes, and deficiencies of each enzyme will cause a different disease. All of these different diseases together are called lysosomal storage disorders.

How will this affect me?

In alpha mannosidosis the cells most commonly affected can be found in the joints, brain, immune system and bones.

This means you may experience or be at risk of the following:

  • Hearing loss
  • Cataracts
  • Muscle weakness
  • Increased risk of infections
  • Difficulty with walking
  • Memory impairment
  • Cognitive decline
  • Swallowing difficulties
  • Communication difficulties
  • Joint pain
  • Anxiety/depression

The progress of the disease in adults is extremely variable with some people not really noticing any symptoms whilst others are more severely affected. If you have any questions about the effects and progression of the disease please do ask your doctor or specialist nurse.

Is there any treatment?

At the moment there is no specific treatment for alpha mannosidosis available on the NHS in the UK. We work very closely with colleagues from around the world to keep up to date/participate in research in this field.

How did I get alpha mannosidosis?

Your disease is a genetic condition which means that you inherited it from your parents.

There are instructions in your genes for making lysosomal enzymes and a small change in the DNA can be enough to stop the enzyme from working properly.

You have two copies of every gene, having received one from each parent.

To be affected by alpha mannosidosis you need to have two copies of the gene with the DNA change on it – one from each parent. Only receiving one affected copy means you are a carrier and will not be affected. Please do talk to your doctor or specialist nurse who can explain this in more detail.

What do I need to do next?

  • Do ask your doctor or nurse for more information.
  • Do attend your regular appointments with the lysosomal disorders team so that we can ensure you receive the most appropriate care for your current difficulties and can keep you informed of any new developments.

  • Do maintain a healthy lifestyle:

○ avoid smoking

○ keep alcohol consumption to a minimum

○ maintain a healthy weight

○ take some regular exercise

  • Do report any difficulties you may encounter when eating or drinking.

We are smoke-free

Smoking is not allowed anywhere on the hospital campus. For advice and support in quitting, contact your GP or the free NHS stop smoking helpline on 0800 169 0 169.

Other formats

Help accessing this information in other formats is available. To find out more about the services we provide, please visit our patient information help page (see link below) or telephone 01223 256998.

Contact us

Cambridge University Hospitals
NHS Foundation Trust
Hills Road, Cambridge

Telephone +44 (0)1223 245151