As if having a lung disease weren’t enough, another issue to be aware of is Common Conditions for People with Lung Disease. Some conditions turn out to be contributing causes of lung disease. Conversely, lung disease can increase the chance of contracting others.
Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency
For some who’ve been diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or other lung diseases, the first question can often be “how?” Lung disease can come from smoking, second-hand smoke or exposure to harmful respiratory conditions. However, lung disease can also develop without touching tobacco, caused a deficiency of the protein alpha-1 antitrypsin.
Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency (AATD) is an inherited disorder that can raise the risk of lung and liver disease, particularly for smokers. Symptoms of lung disease arising from AATD often develop between ages 20 and 50, and can lead to emphysema. Smoking can shorten the lives of those with a severe AAT deficiency by as much as 20 years. Today, roughly 1 in 2500 people have AATD, and up to 3% of people diagnosed with COPD may have an undetected AATD.
A blood test is the only way to detect AATD. Upon discovering the predisposition to the deficiency, lifestyle changes can be prescribed (quitting smoking, etc.) as well gene therapy.
There is hope for those born with AATD. Lung diseases caused by AATD cannot be reversed, but symptoms can be addressed through stem cell therapy and continued stem cell research.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease in which your body’s immune system mistakenly attacks its own tissues. Autoimmune diseases cause the body’s immune system to mistake its own tissues for foreign invaders such as bacteria or viruses. At this point, the confused immune system develops antibodies that go out to search and destroy these so-called invaders; unfortunately, in the case of rheumatoid arthritis, these invaders are your own synovial tissues.
Rheumatoid arthritis causes chronic swelling and notable symptoms include pain, fatigue and warm, swollen, reddish joints. Many sufferers deal with long periods of joint stiffness in the morning and inflammation in the small joints of the wrist and hand. As RA progresses, it will cause increased inflammation in other joints and tissues.
Facts about Rheumatoid Arthritis
- There are approximately 5 million Americans with rheumatoid arthritis.
- Nearly three times as many women have rheumatoid arthritis than men.
- Out of every 100,000 people, 41 are diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis each year.
- Rheumatoid arthritis can affect individuals of any age: Women are generally diagnosed between 30 and 60 years of age; men are usually diagnosed later in life; and even children can be diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.
- The risk of a heart attack increases 60 percent one year after being diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis.
- People with rheumatoid arthritis are two times as likely to suffer from depression.
- The lungs are often affected by rheumatoid arthritis, sometimes resulting in lung disease.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
If you have COPD you’re more likely to experience gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). According to Everyday Health, more than half of those suffering from advanced COPD are likely to have GERD symptoms. GERD occurs when the valve that caps the stomach malfunctions, allowing stomach acid to reach the esophagus. Symptoms include chest pain, ear, nose and throat disorders, indigestion, coughing, wheezing and abdominal pain.
Dr. David Mannino, pulmonologist at the University of Kentucky, says, “For patients with COPD, GERD can be especially bothersome, as they typically do not have a great deal of reserve lung capacity.”
While there isn’t a cure for COPD, rheumatoid arthritis or GERD, the symptoms can be managed to make life with these conditions more manageable. If you or a loved one has a lung disease, the Lung Institute may be able to help through stem cell treatment options. Contact us at (800) 729-3065 today to find out if you qualify.