LIBERTY, MO. (Nov. 27, 2018) – The Pulmonary and Sleep Clinic at Liberty Hospital has been designated as an Alpha-1 Foundation Clinical Resource Center (CRC). CRCs serve as regional centers with a specialization in Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency, a genetic condition that may result in lung and/or liver disease. The Pulmonary and Sleep Clinic treats patients with the lung-related disease and is the only Alpha-1 facility in the region.
An estimated 1 in every 2,500 Americans has this condition, according to the Alpha-1 Foundation. "Finding a doctor who is knowledgeable about Alpha-1 can be challenging," said Michael Loggan, M.D., FCCP. "At centers such as ours, Alpha-1 patients can see a physician familiar with their condition. They also can find out more about how Alpha-1 affects their families and testing choices available to family members."
This condition occurs when there is a lack of a protein in the blood called alpha-1 antitrypsin or AAT. This protein is produced mainly by the liver and its function is to protect the lungs from inflammation caused by infection and inhaled irritants such as tobacco smoke. The low level of AAT in the blood occurs because it is abnormal and cannot be released from the liver at a normal rate. This leads to a build-up of abnormal AAT in the liver that can cause liver disease and a decrease of AAT in the blood that can lead to lung disease.
Often misdiagnosed initially as asthma or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), Alpha-1 can be diagnosed with a blood test. Early diagnosis can help patients consider different lifestyles or professions that could maintain or improve their health.
Symptoms related to the lung include shortness of breath, wheezing, chronic bronchitis, recurring chest colds, less exercise tolerance and year-round allergies.
Symptoms related to the liver include jaundice, swelling of the abdomen or legs, vomiting blood, unexplained liver disease or elevated liver enzymes.
In addition to Dr. Loggan, The Pulmonary and Sleep Clinic includes Patrick Perkins, M.D.; Jacqueline Smith, M.D., FCCP; Cynthia Spilker, M.D., FCCP; and Sonica Saini, M.D., MPH. For more information about Alpha-1, contact The Pulmonary and Sleep Clinic at 816-781-8445 or go to www.alpha1.org.