People with Alpha-1 may have clinical symptoms like wheezing, a cough that won’t go away, or trouble breathing. People with other lung conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD), emphysema, and asthma often have these same clinical symptoms.
It is important to understand that the clinical symptoms of Alpha-1 may look like the clinical symptoms of other serious lung conditions, but the cause of the disease in Alpha-1 patients is different from other diseases such as COPD or asthma.
Alpha-1 is the most common genetic risk factor for COPD and predisposes patients to a higher risk of developing COPD and asthma.
|Symptoms and Characteristics of Alpha-1 vs COPD and Asthma7,8|
|Diagnosis||Prevalence (US)||Age of Onset||Symptoms||Lung Function Test Findings||Recommended Testing|
|Asthma||~25 million||Variable||Episodic wheezing, cough, labored breathing||Predominantly reversible airflow obstruction||Allergy testing, peak-flow monitoring|
|COPD||~15 million||35-40 years old||Chronic productive cough, labored breathing, wheezing, weight loss||Predominantly fixed airflow obstruction||Alpha-1 genetic testing, chest CT scan|
|Alpha-1||~100,000||40-53 years old||Progressive labored breathing, cough, wheezing, phlegm production, fatigue||Pulmonary restriction, fixed airway obstruction||Alpha-1 genetic testing, Alpha-1 blood level testing|
|Diagnosis||Lung Function Test Findings||Recommended Testing|
|Asthma||Predominantly reversible airflow obstruction||Allergy testing, peak-flow monitoring|
|COPD||Predominantly fixed airflow obstruction||Alpha-1 genetic testing, chest CT scan|
|Alpha-1||Pulmonary restriction, fixed airway obstruction||Alpha-1 genetic testing, Alpha-1 blood level testing|
Because the physical symptoms of Alpha-1 may also look the same as the physical symptoms of other serious lung diseases, it may be hard for your doctor to diagnose Alpha-1.