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You're most likely to get COPD from breathing in something that irritates your lungs, like smoke, for a long time.  But there are other reasons, too, for this condition that makes you feel short of breath.

5 Common Causes of COPD

  1. Smoking. Cigarette smoke is by the far the most common reason people get COPD. You can also get it from tobacco products, like cigar and pipe smoke, especially if you breathe in the smoke. 
  2. Secondhand smoke. Even if you don't smoke yourself, you can get COPD from living with a smoker and breathing in smoke.
  3. Pollution and fumes. You can get COPD from air pollution. Breathing in chemical fumes, dust, or toxic substances at work can also cause it.
  4. Your genes. About 3 in 100 people with COPD have a defect in their DNA, the code that tells your body how to work properly. This defect is called alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency or AAT deficiency. Your lungs don't have enough of a protein needed to protect them from damage. This can lead to severe COPD. If you or a family member had serious lung problems -- especially at a young age -- you're more likely to have AAT deficiency.  
  5. Asthma. It's not common, but asthma can lead to COPD. If you don't treat your asthma, over time you can get lifetime damage.


How Does COPD Affect Your Lungs?

Inside your lungs are tiny sacs called alveoli. They fill up like a balloon every time you take a breath. The oxygen in the alveoli passes into your bloodstream. Then your lungs push out stale air.

When you have COPD, your lungs don't work normally. Long-term irritation to the airways from smoke or other pollutants damages them for good.

When this happens, the walls between the alveoli break down. Your airways get swollen and clogged with mucus. It becomes harder to push out the stale air.  You don't get enough fresh oxygen with each breath.

In most cases, this process happens very slowly. The symptoms may come on over time. It may be years before you even notice them.

is the cause of your copd genetic

Is the Cause of Your COPD Genetic?

Knowing if you have alpha-1 is the first step to getting help from your doctor. An alpha-1 blood test is the only way for you and your doctor to know whether you have alpha-1. And if you do, your doctor can discuss potential treatment options and testing for other family members.


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Important Safety Information

PROLASTIN®-C (alpha1-proteinase inhibitor [human]) is indicated for chronic augmentation and maintenance therapy in adults with clinically evident emphysema due to severe deficiency of alpha1-proteinase inhibitor (alpha1-antitrypsin deficiency).

The effect of augmentation therapy with any alpha1-proteinase inhibitor (alpha1-PI), including PROLASTIN-C, on pulmonary exacerbations and on the progression of emphysema in alpha1-antitrypsin deficiency has not been conclusively demonstrated in randomized, controlled clinical trials. Clinical data demonstrating the long-term effects of chronic augmentation or maintenance therapy with PROLASTIN-C are not available.

PROLASTIN-C is not indicated as therapy for lung disease in patients in whom severe alpha1-PI deficiency has not been established. PROLASTIN-C is contraindicated in IgA-deficient patients with antibodies against IgA due to risk of hypersensitivity.

Hypersensitivity reactions may occur. Should evidence of hypersensitivity reaction be observed, promptly stop infusion and begin appropriate therapy.

PROLASTIN-C may contain trace amounts of IgA. Patients with known antibodies to IgA, which can be present in patients with selective or severe IgA deficiency, have a greater risk of developing potentially severe hypersensitivity and anaphylactic reactions. PROLASTIN-C is contraindicated in patients with antibodies against IgA.

The most common drug-related adverse reaction observed at a rate of > 5% in subjects receiving PROLASTIN-C was upper respiratory tract infection. The most serious adverse reaction observed during clinical trials with PROLASTIN-C was an abdominal and extremity rash in 1 subject.

Because PROLASTIN-C is made from human plasma, it may carry a risk of transmitting infectious agents, eg, viruses and, theoretically, the Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) agent.

Please see PROLASTIN-C full Prescribing Information for complete prescribing details.