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:6/25/2016)... ... ... Bruton Memorial Library on June 21 due to a possible lice infestation, as reported by ... lice: the parasite’s ability to live away from a human host, and to infest common ... the event that lice have simply gotten out of control. , As lice are a ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... TX (PRWEB) , ... June 25, 2016 , ... ... the United States, named Dr. Sesan Ogunleye, as the Medical Director of its new ... the facility Medical Director of our new Mesquite location,” said Dr. James M. Muzzarelli, ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... , ... June 25, 2016 , ... ... and non-athletes recover from injury. Recently, he has implemented orthobiologic procedures as a ... area —Johnson is one of the first doctors to perform the treatment. Orthobiologics ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... Conventional wisdom preaches the benefits of moderation, whether ... latter, setting the bar too high can result in disappointment, perhaps even self-loathing. However, ... their goal. , Research from PsychTests.com reveals that behind the tendency ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... , ... Those who have experienced traumatic events may suffer from a complex ... as drug or alcohol abuse, as a coping mechanism. To avoid this pain and ... a traumatic event. , Trauma sufferers tend to feel a range of emotions, from ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/26/2016)... June 27, 2016  VMS Rehab Systems, Inc. ( ... take whatever measures required to build a strong and ... is currently listed on the OTC Markets-pink current trading ... and CEO, "We are seeing an anomaly in market ... not only by the Company, but shareholders and market ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... , June 24, 2016  Collagen Matrix, ... design, development and manufacturing of collagen and mineral ... announced today that Bill Messer has ... Marketing to further leverage the growing portfolio of ... devices. Bill joins the Collagen Matrix ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... Dublin - ... " Global Markets for Spectroscopy Equipment" report ... This report focuses on the global market of ... applications in various applications. The report deals with spectroscopy ... industries: pharmaceutical and biotechnology, food and beverage, and environmental ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: