1. What can I do to take care of myself if I have alpha-1 antitrypsin (AAT) deficiency?
Don’t smoke. Taking care of your lungs can increase your lifespan and delay the onset of emphysema. Avoid lung irritants such as dust and fumes, get regular vaccinations to protect against pneumococcal pneumonia and Haemophilus influenzae type b infections, for example, and an annual influenza shot, get prompt medical attention for lung infections, and get regular exercise to help maintain lung function. Work with your health care practitioner to determine what steps will help you take care of yourself.
It is thought to be one of the most frequent genetic deficiencies in Caucasians. The American Lung Association estimates that as many as 100,000 people in the U.S. are born with AAT deficiency each year and that as many as 25 million Americans are carriers of the condition.
3. Do I need to have all three types of AAT testing?
Usually, no. The number of tests and the order in which they are done depend upon the laboratory or medical facility performing the testing. In most cases, the AAT blood test and either the phenotype or genotype test are sufficient. In difficult or unusual cases, all three tests may be ordered.
This article was last reviewed on June 10, 2013. | This article was last modified on December 12, 2016.
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