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:6/26/2016)... ... June 26, 2016 , ... PawPaws brand pet supplements ... that was developed to enhance the health of felines. The formula is all-natural and ... main herbs in the PawPaws Cat Kidney Support Supplement Soft Chews are ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... , ... June 25, 2016 , ... The temporary closing of Bruton Memorial Library on ... Observer , brings up a new, often overlooked aspect of head lice: the parasite’s ability ... fumigation is not a common occurrence, but a necessary one in the event that lice ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... On Friday, June 10, Van Mitchell, Secretary ... Work award to iHire in recognition of their exemplary accomplishments in worksite health promotion. ... Maryland Workplace Health & Wellness Symposium at the BWI Marriott in Linthicum Heights. iHire ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... CA (PRWEB) , ... June 24, 2016 , ... Marcy was in a crisis. Her ... would lash out at his family verbally and physically. , “When something upset him, he ... he would use it. He would throw rocks at my other children and say he ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Topical BioMedics, Inc, makers of Topricin and MyPainAway Pain Relief Products, ... minimum wage raise to $12 an hour by 2020 and then adjusting it yearly to ... value of the minimum wage, assure the wage floor does not erode again, and make ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... Belgium , June 24, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... announced the appointment of Dr. Edward Futcher ... a Non-Executive Director, effective June 23, 2016.Dr. Futcher ... and Nominations and Governance Committees.  As a non-executive ... provide independent expertise and strategic counsel to VolitionRx ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016 Research and Markets has ... - Forecast to 2022" report to their offering. ... for the patients with kidney failure, it replaces the function ... the patient,s blood and thus the treatment helps to keep ... in balance. Increasing number of ESRD patients ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... Ill. , June 23, 2016  In a startling report ... are failing their residents by lacking a comprehensive, proven plan to ... a definitive ranking of how states are tackling the worst ... to only four states – Kentucky , ... Vermont . Of the 28 failing states, three ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: