Can A1AD be treated?

The treatments offered at present are the same as for people who have emphysema for other reasons. Inhalers and other medications can help. Other more general and lifestyle measures are more important:-

  • Do not smoke.
  • Keep physically active with regular exercise
  • Keep body weight about right (avoiding getting big but also avoiding losing muscle bulk)
  • Have Flu vaccination and pneumococcal vaccination
  • Get any chest infections treated promptly
  • Avoid situations that irritate the chest and that can make emphysema worse, ie smoke, fumes, dust, pollution.

Currently there is no actual cure for A1AD.

In some countries (not in NZ), AAT made from donated blood is administered regularly by intravenous infusion - this is called augmentation therapy. The benefits/downsides of this therapy are being evaluated currently by an international medical research trial in New Zealand and Australia.

Some people with advanced emphysema are eligible for lung transplantation.  However with early diagnosis and lifestyle adjustments, affected individuals can reduce the likelihood of reaching that level of severity.