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Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency

Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency is an inherited disorder that can cause lung disease in adults and liver disease in adults and children. Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency occurs worldwide, but its prevalence varies by population. For example, in Scandinavia this disorder affects 1 in 1,500 to 3,000 individuals, but it is less common in Asian and black populations. In North America, alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency affects 1 in 5,000 to 7,000 people. However, it is estimated that about 116 million people worldwide (and 1 in every 10 to 33 Americans) are Alpha-1 carriers. Alpha-1 is a recessive genetic condition, meaning that a person needs to have two altered copies of the Alpha-1 gene to have serious complications.

Alpha-1 cannot be cured, but if Alpha-1 is diagnosed early, treatment can be easy and successful. With early detection people with Alpha-1 can live healthier, longer lives.

The first signs and symptoms of lung disease caused by alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency usually appear between ages 20 and 50. The earliest symptoms are shortness of breath following mild activity, reduced ability to exercise, and wheezing. Other signs and symptoms can include unintentional weight loss, recurring respiratory infections, fatigue, rapid heartbeat upon standing, and vision abnormalities. Advanced lung disease leads to emphysema, in which small air sacs in the lungs (alveoli) are damaged. Characteristic features of emphysema include difficulty breathing, a hacking cough, and a barrel-shaped chest. Smoking or exposure to tobacco smoke accelerates the appearance of symptoms and damage to the lungs.

About 10 percent of infants and 15 percent of adults with alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency have liver damage. Signs of liver disease can include a swollen abdomen, swollen feet or legs, and yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes (jaundice).

In rare cases, alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency also causes a skin condition known as panniculitis, which is characterized by hardened skin with painful lumps or patches. Panniculitis varies in severity and can occur at any age.

DNA Direct now offers a genetic test to detect Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency for $330.



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Comments to date: 2. Page 1 of 1.

Denyse   PaVwZQhOFqJVC

Posted at 3:01pm on Sunday, October 14th, 2012

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Makailah   XSitLYBGfjdp

Posted at 10:40am on Monday, September 5th, 2011

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