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Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency: Even the name for this inherited lung problem can be hard to understand. You may have no symptoms, or you may feel short of breath often with AAT deficiency. But whatever your situation, you can take steps at home and at work to feel your best.

Many people with AAT deficiency live active, fulfilling lives.

These moves can protect your lungs from damage and may help you breathe easier.

1. Don't smoke.

"The most important thing in those with [AAT deficiency] is to stop smoking," says Edward Eden, MD, of St. Luke's and Roosevelt Hospitals in New York City.

If you smoke, talk to your doctor about how to quit. If you've tried before, keep trying. Quitting smoking is the best thing you can do for your health. It's normal for it to take several tries before it lasts.

2. Avoid pollen, dust, fumes, and secondhand smoke.

One easy way is to wear a mask when irritants are flying. Slip on a mask when moving boxes in a warehouse or mowing the lawn. 

"Someone who sandblasts or paints for a living should be wearing a respirator mask," says Susan Metcalf, a nurse practitioner with Pulmonary Disease Specialists of Central Florida.

But even people with harmless-seeming jobs, like mail carriers, can be exposed to pollen and air pollution. "If patients have a little bit of asthma mixed in with their emphysema," Eden says, "they should avoid triggers for their asthma attacks, such as pollen, dust, and ozone."

Before you head outside, check the Air Quality Index and plan your day accordingly. The index can change during the day, so check it often. When air quality is poor, plan your outdoor activities for the morning or when the air is cleaner, and try to avoid areas where traffic is heavy.

If you're driving in traffic on a hot day, keep your windows rolled up.

At home:

  • Never allow smoking indoors.
  • Dusting, vacuuming, and shaking out rugs stirs up dust. Ask or hire someone to do these chores for you.
  • Damp-mop floors instead of vacuuming or sweeping.
  • Use mattress and pillow covers, and always wash linens in hot water to kill dust mites.
  • If you have a pet, bathe it weekly and keep it out of the bedroom.
  • Use a dehumidifier to keep the humidity levels low and help prevent mold.
  • Install an air filtering system.
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.