But once he learned more, it made sense. "That diagnosis explained so much," he says. Campbell had emphysema by his late 20s. He had a family history of severe lung problems. Up until that moment, he never knew why.
After the information is gathered and the assessment made, you and your health care provider will develop a plan for dealing with each problem. Some plans are called "short term treatment plans." These plans deal only with the specific problems identified during that visit with your health care provider. For COPD patients, a treatment plan that includes longer term health care issues is often best.
A treatment plan is not something that your health care provider can simply give to you. Instead,...
Alpha-1 is genetic. People with it have two copies of a faulty gene, one from each parent. Like Campbell, many people with this condition have a family history of lung and liver problems.
Even though he saw several doctors over the years, Campbell had to wait 27 years to get the right diagnosis. It shouldn't take that long. Alpha-1, also called AAT deficiency, is rare. But it's easy to find with a simple blood test. The sooner you find out you have it, the sooner you can start treatment that may protect your lungs.
What Is Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency?
The first signs are usually lung problems, like chronic wheezing or coughing. But the problems start in your liver. It doesn't send enough of a special protein, called alpha-1, out into the bloodstream. The protein is needed to protect your lungs.
Over time, the lack of the protein can lead to lung damage. Tobacco smoke, pollution, and even common colds can cause serious illness.