What Is Alpha-1 Lung Disease?

Alpha-1 lung disease is a condition caused by an alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, which is a genetic, or inherited, condition, explains the Alpha-1 Foundation. Alpha-1 lung disease develops when protein deficiencies in the blood prevent the body from protecting the lungs from inflammation.

Common symptoms of alpha-1 lung disease include wheezing, recurring chest colds, shortness of breath and chronic bronchitis, according to the Alpha-1 Foundation. Patients may also experience asthma that does not always respond to medical treatment, year-round allergies and lowered endurance when exercising.

As of 2015, approximately one in every 2,500 Americans have an alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, reports the Alpha-1 Foundation.