What Treatments Are Available for Antitrypsin Deficiency?


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Vaccinations for dangerous infections such as flu and hepatitis prevent the symptoms of antitrypsin deficiency from worsening, while oxygen systems used at home help provide relief to patients, notes WebMD. Doctors recommend surgery to reduce lung volume in patients who are at risk of advanced emphysema, which causes obstruction of airways, says Mayo Clinic. To increase airflow in some patients, physicians use endobronchial valves, implantable medical devices, in their airways.

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The antitrypsin protein protects an individual’s lungs from damage and augmentation therapy helps restore the protein. Patients receive an intravenous infusion, which helps lessen the effects of chronic inflammatory lung disease resulting from antitrypsin deficiency, states WebMD. Mild side effects of therapy include headache, muscle aches and flu. Four Food and Drug Administration-approved therapies are available commercially, as of 2015, notes Mayo Clinic. Patients should actively manage their health by making lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking and involving a physician to facilitate early diagnosis and treatment, states WebMD.

Patients may take certain drugs such as bronchodilators to open up their airways or consider steroids that reduce swelling in the lungs, according to WebMD. Antitrypsin deficiency increases the risk of contracting common ailments such as common cold, which may lead to lung infections, and antibiotic prescriptions help ward off such problems. Lung transplants are ideal for some patients, with reports indicating doubled survival rates, according to Mayo Clinic. Treatment of liver degradation that results in cirrhosis involves liver transplantation.

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