Navigation Links
Do You Have Genetic COPD?
Date:11/24/2008

LOS ANGELES, Nov. 24 /PRNewswire/ -- To everyone around her, Melissa Biggs appeared to have it all -- a thriving acting career, a successful clothing line that was attracting international attention, and an adoring daughter. What people didn't know was that for years, Melissa suffered from severe breathing problems, extreme shortness of breath, and that her doctors couldn't find the cause.

After multiple breathing-related incidents, including a collapse while she was rehearsing a scene on the set of the television program Baywatch, Melissa was finally diagnosed with Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency, or AATD. AATD is often referred to as a genetic form of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, or COPD.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, COPD is the fourth leading killer in the United States and is also widely recognized as one of the most common causes of disability. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) estimates that 12 million individuals have been diagnosed with COPD in the U.S. alone, with an additional 12 million people being symptomatic or in the process of developing COPD. It is thought to affect primarily smokers and the elderly, though the number of younger people diagnosed is slowly increasing.

What many people don't know is that COPD has a genetic form -- AATD -- which is extremely under- or misdiagnosed. Of the estimated 100,000 people in the U.S. who may have this disorder, 95 percent have not yet been diagnosed. A recent study conducted by the Respiratory and Allergic Disease Foundation found that more than 3 percent of study participants diagnosed with severe asthma or COPD actually tested positive for low levels of alpha-1 antitrypsin. Alpha-1 antitrypsin is a protein produced by the liver that protects the lungs from being damaged. A lack of this protein in the body is the cause of this disorder. Symptoms of AATD include shortness of breath, wheezing, repeated lung infections, and cough. In its late stages or if left untreated, AATD can cause significant lung damage, emphysema, and cirrhosis of the liver.

On average, it takes patients six years to obtain a proper diagnosis of AATD because tests for the condition aren't often performed. The condition is genetic, and Melissa urged her family members and daughter to be tested. Not surprisingly, many relatives received the same diagnosis. Medications called alpha-1 proteinase inhibitors are available for the treatment of AATD, and replace the missing protein that helps the lungs function properly.

"A simple blood test is all that is needed to detect AATD," said Peter Wagner, MD, former president of the American Thoracic Society. "Receiving a proper and prompt diagnosis can make a real difference in the lives of patients by allowing them to receive appropriate medical care sooner and can have a profound impact on a family's health for generations to come."

Today, with treatment, Melissa is able to manage her COPD and lead the life everyone thought she had -- without the stress of an undiagnosed breathing condition threatening her success. She continues to pursue new acting opportunities and her clothing design company is thriving. She has even begun to take up breathing-intensive activities, such as tennis.

"I'm so thankful I was tested early, because it could be a lot worse," Melissa added.

If you or someone you know has any of the symptoms of AATD, or has been diagnosed with severe asthma or COPD, visit www.TestTodayChangeTomorrow.com for more information and an AATD screening test.


'/>"/>
SOURCE CSL Behring
Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. Many Parents Share Genetic Test Findings With Kids
2. Genetic predisposition increases childhood asthma risk
3. New Alzheimers findings: High stress and genetic risk factor lead to increased memory decline
4. Test Spots Genetic Damage Done by Smoking
5. Scientists demonstate link between genetic variant and effectiveness of smoking cessation meds
6. Scientists highlight benefits of genetic research in sport, but warn of ethical concerns
7. Genetics Hold Promise, Challenges for Cancer Care
8. Researchers genetically engineer micro-organisms into tiny factories
9. Study Questions Genetic Screening for Treatable Diseases
10. Researchers provide genetic associations from a genome-wide scan for cardiovascular disease traits
11. Genetic variation affects smoking cessation treatment
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... Global Healthcare Management’s 4th Annual Kids Fun Run ... This free event, sponsored by Global Healthcare Management’s CEO, Jon Letko, is aimed ... geared towards children of all ages; it is a non-competitive, non-timed event, which is ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... “The Journey: From the Mountains ... possible to save lost souls in the Philippines. “The Journey: From the Mountains to ... dedicated teacher of the Bible. She has taught all ages and currently teaches a ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... 12, 2017 , ... Planet Fitness, one of the largest and fastest growing ... open a flagship location in Covington, LA at 401 N. U.S. Highway 190, in ... to Office Depot in the Holiday Square shopping center. Its location allows it to ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... Asante, a nationally recognized ... have expanded their existing home health joint venture through an agreement, effective October ... a joint venture home health company with Asante, delivering clinically integrated care, for ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... Leading pediatric oncology experts at Children’s ... the 49th Congress of the International Society of Paediatric Oncology (SIOP) Oct. ... Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders at Children’s National, and Stephen P. Hunger, ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:10/2/2017)... 2017 The Rebound mobile app is poised to ... the tide of prescription drug addiction. The app empowers users ... and stepping down their dosage in a safe, controlled manner ... 2017; the first 100,000 people to sign up will enjoy ... ...
(Date:9/27/2017)... Sept. 27, 2017  Commended for their devotion to personalized ... Ranked as number one in the South Florida Business Journal,s ... Inc. 5000 yearly list, the national specialty pharmacy has found ... Bardisa will soon be honored by SFBJ as the ... Set to receive his award in October, Bardisa ...
(Date:9/25/2017)... , Sept. 25, 2017  EpiVax, Inc., ... vaccine design, and immune-engineering today announced the launch ... the development of personalized therapeutic cancer vaccines. EpiVax ... provided exclusive access to enabling technologies to the ... MBA will lead EpiVax Oncology as Chief Executive ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: