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Worsening Asthma or Alpha One? Unmasking the Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency Enigma | Be Well Medical

Your Health is Our Priority

Navigating the world of health can sometimes feel like solving a puzzle. We're committed to helping you put those pieces together at Be Well Medical. Today, we're addressing a condition often mistaken for worsening asthma but is a distinct entity on its own - Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency. Let's demystify this together.

Understanding Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency

What is Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency?

Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency, often abbreviated as AATD, is a genetic disorder primarily affecting the lungs and liver. It arises due to a deficiency in a protein called alpha-1 antitrypsin (AAT). This protein is pivotal in shielding your lungs from inflammation caused by infections or irritants like tobacco smoke.

Why is it a Concern?

Without adequate AAT, harmful enzymes can assault the lungs, leading to conditions like emphysema and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) at a younger age than usual.

Free Testing at Be Well Medical

We understand the importance of early diagnosis and intervention. Be Well Medical is proud to offer free testing for Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency included with an exam. Please get in touch with us if you or a family member exhibits symptoms or have concerns about AATD. Early detection can be a game-changer, and we're here to support you every step of the way.

Statistics Speak: The Prevalence of AATD

Research indicates that AATD affects roughly 1 in 2,500 to 5,000 individuals of European descent. Yet, many remain undiagnosed due to overlapping symptoms with other respiratory conditions. Early detection can significantly influence the management of the condition and enhance the quality of life.

Symptoms and Diagnosis

Common Symptoms Include:


If AATD is suspected, a straightforward blood test can gauge the levels of AAT in your bloodstream. Genetic testing can confirm the diagnosis and ascertain if other family members are at risk.

Managing Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency

Lifestyle Changes:

  1. Quit Smoking: Imperative for those with AATD. Smoking exacerbates lung damage.
  2. Avoid Exposure: Evade dust, fumes, and other lung irritants.
  3. Stay Active: Consistent exercise can bolster lung function and overall well-being.
  4. Get Vaccinated: Stay current with vaccinations, especially those for flu and pneumonia.

Medical Treatments:

Specific therapies tailored for AATD patients exist, including augmentation therapy, which involves infusing the AAT protein into the bloodstream.

Common Questions Addressed

Your Health Journey Begins Here

Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency can be perplexing, but it becomes manageable with the proper knowledge and support. Recognizing and understanding your health is the inaugural step towards mastering it.

If you or a loved one suspects they might have AATD or any other health concern, don't delay. At Be Well Medical, we're poised to guide you at every juncture. Reach out and schedule an appointment. Embark on your health journey with us by your side.

Nichole Shiffler, NMD Dr. Nichole Shiffler is a naturopathic primary care physician and medical director of Be Well Medical Primary Care. Dr. Shiffler focuses her practice on women's and pediatric medicine. Dr. Shiffler also has an extensive history of treating irregular menstrual cycles, thyroid disease, menopause, acne, PCOS, and diabetes. She utilizes nutrition and herbal medicine to deliver an effective treatment plan to her patients. Dr. Shiffler is available for patient care at Be Well Medical Primary Care. Call (480) 219-9900 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Shiffler.

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