Medications for Alpha-1

Beta-Agonists (SABAs and LABAs)

Beta-agonists are a type of bronchodilator. They open your airways by relaxing the surrounding muscles. They’re like epinephrine, a hormone that gives you a surge of energy when you’re scared or excited. Beta-agonists come in many forms. However, you usually take them with an inhaler or nebulizer. Inhaling them into your airways is the preferred…

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Medications for Alpha-1

Combination Inhalers

Combination inhalers have made up the majority of COPD medicines for the last 25 years. You can find many brands, but they all contain 2-3 medicines. Doctors prescribe one brand over another based on their cost to a particular hospital or health system. Those costs change often. And, your doctor may ask you to switch…

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Augmentation Therapy

Considering Augmentation Therapy: Is It Right for You?

Are you considering augmentation therapy? Experts agree that Alphas with emphysema should get it. However, they disagree about whether it’s the right approach for people with very mild or very severe lung disease. Some research studies have shown that people who fall in the middle range of severity get the most benefit from augmentation therapy.

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Augmentation Therapy

Catheter Infections: Prevention & Treatment

The signs and symptoms of port or central catheter infections often look like a reaction to augmentation therapy. It’s important to learn how to tell the difference between the two. Port and central catheter infections External infections are located at the spot where the catheter enters your skin, under the skin, or along the tunneled…

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Augmentation Therapy

What Is Augmentation Therapy?

Augmentation therapy is an FDA-approved therapy used to treat Alpha-1-related lung disease, specifically emphysema. Alphas on this life-saving therapy get weekly infusions of alpha-1 antitrypsin (AAT). These infusions boost AAT levels in the lungs and bloodstream. Augmentation therapy is the only specific therapy for Alpha-1 related lung disease. But you’ll use other approaches to treat your…

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Understanding Pulmonary Function Testing

Pulmonary Function Tests

While there are many tests and tools for looking at lung health, pulmonary function tests (PFTs) deserve special attention. That’s because many Alphas report that PFTs are hard to understand. What are pulmonary function tests? PFTs are breathing tests that involve blowing into a tube. You do them at a hospital or clinic, under the…

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Understanding Pulmonary Function Testing

Spirometry

Spirometry is the simplest and most common pulmonary function test. Here’s how you do the test: Put on a nose clip, so air can’t escape through your nose. Wrap your mouth around the mouthpiece of the spirometer. Breathe in as deeply as you can. Blast your breath out as long and as hard as you…

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Understanding Pulmonary Function Testing

Lung Volumes Testing

To find out more about your lung health, your doctor may order lung volumes as part of your pulmonary function testing. Lung volumes testing measures eight separate volumes of air: Total Lung Capacity (TLC) is the maximum amount of air that your lungs can hold. This is measured at the very top of an inhalation. Vital…

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Understanding Pulmonary Function Testing

Diffusing Capacity (DLCO)

Pulmonary Function Testing (PFT) may include a diffusing capacity (DLCO) test. This test measures how well gases like oxygen move from your lungs into your blood. How do we measure diffusing capacity? There are several ways to measure diffusing capacity. The “ten-second single breath-hold technique” is the most common. It’s an easy, five-step test: Put…

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Understanding Pulmonary Function Testing

Arterial Blood Gases and Pulse Oximetry

Testing levels of arterial blood gases (ABGs) gives your doctor important information about your lung health. ABG tests show how well your lungs take in oxygen from your blood and get carbon dioxide out. How do we measure arterial blood gases? Your doctor will take blood from one of your arteries, usually near your wrist.

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Understanding Pulmonary Function Testing

Glossary of Pulmonary Function Terms

If you’re talking to your doctor about pulmonary function testing, it helps to know key terms. This glossary contains some common words your doctor may use when talking about lung disease and tests for lung function. Glossary Alpha-1 Antitrpsin Deficiency – A genetic condition that can affect all age groups. It may lead to emphysema…

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Health Management Plans

Health Management Plan for Liver Disease

You and your doctor are a team, working together to manage your health for the months or years ahead. This Health Management Plan for Alphas with Liver Disease will help. We recommend that you review your plan together every year. Using Your Health Management Plan The column on the right, “My Personal Guide to Alpha-1…

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