Alpha-1 Related Emphysema and Disability Benefits
Emphysema is a lung disease. Emphysema is what is known as an obstructive lung disease. This is due to the destruction of lung tissue around your smaller airways that are known as bronchioles. This results in these airways being unable to hold their shape like they should when you exhale.
Emphysema is one of a group of diseases that are referred to as COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). COPD is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States. Every year, about 100,000 people die of emphysema in the United States. An alarming fact is that the death rate related to COPD seems to be rising, which is unlike more common causes of death, such as heart disease.
Emphysema is a very dangerous lung disease due to the fact that it damages your alveoli (lungs air sacs) that affect your breathing. There is progressive destruction of your air sacs and the surrounding lung tissues with emphysema.
What is Alpha-1 related emphysema?
Alpha-1 related emphysema is a type of emphysema that is due to a deficiency of alpha-1 antitrypsin (AAT). Alpha-1 antitrypsin is a protein that under normal circumstances is found in your bloodstream and lungs. This protein helps guard your lungs from diseases like COPD and emphysema.
Because of this deficiency, you become more susceptible to alpha-1 related emphysema. Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency also makes you more likely to get alpha-1 related emphysema at a much younger age than you would normally expect. This may be as early as between the ages of 30 and 40.
Alpha-1 related emphysema is a genetic (inherited) disease
What this means is that you get it from your parents. Alpha-1 related emphysema is passed down through a mutated (defective) gene that results in too little of alpha-1 antitrypsin being produced in your blood, lungs and liver.
The pattern of inheritance is referred to as autosomal recessive for alpha-1 related emphysema. This means that you have to receive the defective gene from both of your parents in order to have alpha-1 related emphysema. You become a carrier of alpha-1 related emphysema if you only get one defective gene.
Signs and symptoms of Alpha-1 related emphysema
The first signs and symptoms of alpha-1 related emphysema usually start when you are between the ages of 20 and 50. There are several different signs and symptoms that you may have with alpha-1 related emphysema. Some of these may include:
- Shortness of breath that may occur after you have done only mild activity
- Abnormalities in your vision
- Respiratory infections that are recurring
- A rapid heartbeat when you are standing
- A reduction in your ability to exercise
- Weight loss that is unintentional
- Wheezing (a high-pitched whistling sound as you breathe)
Get Help for alpha-1 related emphysema if you were denied benefits
When alpha-1 related emphysema reaches an advanced stage, large air cysts occur where healthy lung tissue used to be. Air becomes trapped in your lungs due to a lack of the presence of supportive tissue. This leads to a decrease in the oxygenation of your blood. This, then, results in your body not getting the sufficient amount of oxygen that it needs to have.
Alpha-1 related emphysema and/or complications that have developed from it or other disorders that you may have in addition to this disease may have given rise to your disability and be the reason why you are not able to work. If this is true, you may have tried to get Social Security disability benefits or disability benefits from the Social Security Administration? Did your attempt to get these benefits get turned down? Are you wondering what you should do now? Complete our free evaulation and speak to an attorney today.
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