Who/Why/How To Test for Alpha-1?
Who should be tested for Alpha-1?
Several medical organizations recommend similar Alpha-1 testing guidelines. Here's a brief summary of those guidelines from the American Thoracic Society (physicians who focus on illness of the chest).
American Thoracic Society (ATS) Guidelines
ATS guidelines recommend testing a broad range of patients with lung conditions:1
- All adults with symptomatic emphysema regardless of smoking history
- All adults with symptomatic COPD regardless of smoking history
- All adults with symptomatic asthma whose airflow obstruction is incompletely reversible after bronchodilator therapy
- Asymptomatic patients with persistent obstruction on pulmonary function tests with identifiable risk factors (smoking, occupational exposure, etc.)
- Consider testing of asymptomatic individuals with persistent airflow obstruction without risk factors (no smoking or no known occupational exposure, etc.)
ATS guidelines also provide guidance on testing family members of Alphas:
- Test all siblings of Alphas
- Consider testing of offspring, parents or distant relatives of Alphas
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) advises testing similar patient types.2:
Read the NIH Statement on the Diagnosis and Management of Individuals with Alpha1-Antitrypsin Deficiency on the NIH website.
Why test for Alpha-1?
Testing for Alpha-1 increases the knowledge of your personal risk of lung disease and other complications. You also gain a broader base of knowledge on which to base future healthcare decisions.
Testing allows you to do things and take steps that may slow the progression of your Alpha-1. Knowing whether you have severe Alpha-1, or are simply a carrier of the Alpha-1 gene, helps you and your family make decisions about work, lifestyle, and having children.
Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of testing with your healthcare provider.
How do you test for Alpha-1?
The AlphaKit is a free blood sample collection kit. The test must be performed by your doctor. You can order a FREE AlphaKit to take to your next doctor's visit at www.MyAlphaTest.com/pro-c.
Modern testing methods are simple, quick, and accurate. They enable diagnosis of Alpha-1 from a few drops of blood dried onto a piece of filter paper.
If you and your doctor agree that testing is right for you, the test will:
- Measure the level of AAT in your blood
- Test your DNA to see if you carry 1 or 2 abnormal genes for Alpha-1
SHOULD YOUR FAMILY BE TESTED?
The American Thoracic Society recommends testing for siblings of people with Alpha-1 or carriers of AAT genes. NIH advises testing for family members who may be at risk. Find out who in your family may be at risk. Learn about family testing for Alpha-1.