Symptoms and Diseases Caused by Alpha-1
One reason Alpha-1 is so seldom diagnosed is that the symptoms of Alpha-1-induced lung disease are identical to those of other common lung diseases such as emphysema, asthma, and COPD.
In people with Alpha-1, lung symptoms appear between the ages of 30 and 60. If you're a smoker with Alpha-1, you could develop symptoms 10 years earlier than a nonsmoker.1
Common signs and symptoms of Alpha-1 include:2
- Shortness of breath
- Chronic cough and phlegm production (bronchitis)
- Recurring chest colds or pneumonia
- Low tolerance for exercise
- Non-responsive asthma or year round allergies
- Chronic widening of the bronchial tubes (bronchiectasis)
- Family history of lung and/or liver disease
Alpha-1 and lung disease
If you are an Alpha, you have too much neutrophil elastase (an enzyme that can damage your lungs) and not enough AAT (an enzyme that can protect your lungs from excess neutrophil elastase).
Over time, untreated Alpha-1 can cause lung disease, including emphysema.
Learn more about Alpha-1 lung disease at the website of the Alpha-1 Foundation, dedicated to finding a cure for Alpha-1.
Other clinical manifestations: liver diseases
Liver disease is the second most-frequently diagnosed medical problem caused by Alpha-1. Alpha-1 can reduce the amount of AAT released from the liver into the bloodstream, which can cause liver disease at all ages.
Learn more about Alpha-1 liver disease from the Alpha-1 Foundation.
Other clinical manifestations: skin disease
Panniculitis is a rare skin disease caused by Alpha-1, and the least known of its complications. Unmediated proteases can damage the layer of fatty, fibrous tissue under the outer layer of skin.
Learn more about Alpha-1 skin disease from the Alpha-1 Foundation.
Please talk with your doctor for additional information on Alpha-1.