Chronic illnesses like alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency can take a lot of energy out of those who are suffering and it can be tough to find a balance and not overdo it. Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency occurs when the liver doesn't release enough alpha-1 antitrypsin into the blood, which is a protein that helps with lung function and can also impact the liver. It is a genetic condition meaning those who have alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency and are carriers are born with these genes. There is no cure or anything that can be done to change these genes. If you have this illness, it's not your fault.
Patients who have alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency may experience lower oxygen saturation levels and require supplemental oxygen along with augmentation therapy as well as inhalers for shortness of breath and other symptoms. This can interfere with all aspects of life from working, daily life, finances, mental health, and so much more. However, there are some lifestyle changes that those suffering with alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency can make to try to help combat some of their symptoms.
These lifestyle changes include:
If you think you may have alpha-1, ask your doctor today how you can be tested. It's a simple blood test that is free and will allow you to know your alpha-1 antitrypsin protein level and your phenotype (ZZ, MZ, MM, etc.).
I hope you find this information helpful.
To learn more about alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, check out Samantha's book Living with Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency, which is published by Hatherleigh Press and distributed by Penguin Random House.
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Samantha Bowick, MPH is the author of "Living with Endometriosis: The Complete Guide to Risk Factors, Symptoms, and Treatment Options" and "Living with Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency" as well as a fellow sufferer of multiple chronic illnesses and patient advocate.