Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency Month in Michigan Focuses Attention on Debilitating Genetic Disorder
LANSING, Mich., Nov. 9, 2010 /PRNewswire/ — Bringing awareness to the need for early detection of a genetic disorder that can cause permanent and even fatal organ damage is the main theme of Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency Month in Michigan. The condition, known as Alpha-1, affects the lungs and liver in children and adults.
Today representatives of the Alpha-1 Association, Michigan doctors who treat and advocate for patients with the disease and CSL Behring joined Governor Jennifer M. Granholm for the signing of a proclamation declaring November Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency Month in Michigan. The goal of Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency Month is to increase public awareness of the condition through screenings, conferences and events to encourage early detection and also organ donation. Lung transplantation is an option sought by many Alpha-1 patients as the disease progresses.
Sridhar Reddy, MD, MPH, Michigan Governor of the American College of Chest Physicians, attended the signing and commended the governor for drawing attention to the effects of the disease. “Alpha-1 is often misdiagnosed as asthma, chronic bronchitis or early-onset of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease,” Reddy said. “People with chronic breathing problems or unexplained liver disease could be suffering from Alpha-1 and should ask their doctor about being tested. A simple blood test is all that is required.”
It is estimated that as many as 95% of people with Alpha-1 deficiency are not diagnosed, and that as many 100,000 people in the US have this serious genetic disorder. Alpha-1 is caused by the lack of a protein that is made in the liver and which protects the lungs from germs, dust, air pollution, smoke and other inhaled irritants and can be responsible for the early-onset of emphysema in adults. The Alpha-1 Foundation is at the forefront of providing the leadership and resources that are necessary for increased research, improved health, worldwide early detection and ultimately, a cure for Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency.
Jeannette Therrian, who also attended the proclamation signing, became an Alpha-1 support group leader after attending a weekend seminar in Ann Arbor sponsored by the Alpha-1 Association. Therrian said she was motivated after meeting so many great people who share a common medical condition in the Alpha community, either by being diagnosed with Alpha-1 or having lost a family member to the disease.
“I myself lost a brother and sister to Alpha-1,” Therrian said. “This is what inspired me to get the word out about being tested. If diagnosed and treated early, the chances of improving a patient’s quality of life and life expectancy may increase. Certain lifestyle changes early on such as living a smoke- and alcohol-free life and avoiding occupations that expose one’s body to harmful elements including smoke, fumes and chemicals, can also contribute to quality of life and longevity.”
About the Alpha-1 Association
The mission of the Alpha-1 Association is to identify those affected by Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency and to improve the quality of their lives through support, education, advocacy and research. For more information please visit: www.alpha1.org.
About the Alpha-1 Foundation
The mission of the Alpha-1 Foundation is to provide the leadership and resources that will result in increased research, improved health, worldwide detection and a cure for Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency. For more information please visit: www.alphaone.org.
About CSL Behring
CSL Behring is a leader in the plasma protein therapeutics industry. Committed to saving lives and improving the quality of life for people with rare and serious diseases, the company manufactures and markets a range of plasma-derived and recombinant therapies worldwide for the treatment of inherited respiratory disease, coagulation disorders including hemophilia and von Willebrand disease, primary immune deficiencies and hereditary angioedema. The company’s products are also used in cardiac surgery, organ transplantation, burn treatment and to prevent hemolytic diseases in newborns.
Contacts: Marlene Erven Bob Campbell Chris Florentz Alpha-1 Association Alpha-1 Foundation CSL Behring 305-648-0088, ext. 15 305-567-9888, ext. 230 610-878-4316
SOURCE CSL Behring