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Alpha-1 antitrypsin (AAT) is a protein normally found in your lungs and blood. It helps protect the lungs from damage that leads to the lung disease emphysema (say "em-fuh-ZEE-muh").
Some people do not make enough AAT in their bodies. This is called AAT deficiency. It is also called inherited emphysema, because it is passed down by genes that you inherit from your family. If you have AAT deficiency, you may get emphysema at a young age. People with AAT deficiency may get emphysema when they are 30 or 40 years old, especially if they smoke. If you have AAT deficiency but do not smoke, you may not get emphysema.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:
Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if you have any problems.
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Current as of: October 26, 2020
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.
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