A1-antitrypsin (AAT) is a protein produced by the liver. It has a protective function because it blocks the release of proteolytic enzymes that can damage tissues, such as lung tissues. AAT deficiency can be hereditary or acquired. When AAT deficiency is hereditary, it is most often found in people of European origin and first occurs relatively early in life. Acquired A1-antitrypsin deficiency has been observed in patients with protein deficiency syndromes such as liver disease, nephrotic syndrome, and malnutrition.
Regardless of its type, A1-antitrypsin deficiency allows proteolytic enzymes to damage lung tissue, resulting in severe emphysema at the beginning of adulthood. A1-antitrypsin deficiency is responsible for less than 1% of cases of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Patients with moderate to severe COPD before the age of 50 may be suspected of having A1-antitrypsin deficiency in the following cases:
- Patients with a family history of A1-antitrypsin deficiency
- Chronic bronchitis with airway obstruction, in patients who have never smoked
- Bronchiectasis, in the absence of clear risk factors
- Liver cirrhosis, also without obvious risk factors
What do Pathological Values mean?
- Increase: Acute inflammation, cancer, chronic inflammatory disease, chronic liver disease, hepatitis, pregnancy, stress, systemic lupus erythematosus, thyroiditis. Medications such as estrogen, contraceptives, steroids.
- Decrease: Congenital insufficiency, chronic liver disease, emphysema, malnutrition, nephrotic syndrome, severe hepatic impairment.
Laboratory test results are the most important parameter for the diagnosis and monitoring of all pathological conditions. 70%-80% of diagnostic decisions are based on laboratory tests. Correct interpretation of laboratory results allows a doctor to distinguish "healthy" from "diseased".
Laboratory test results should not be interpreted from the numerical result of a single analysis. Test results should be interpreted in relation to each individual case and family history, clinical findings, and the results of other laboratory tests and information. Your personal physician should explain the importance of your test results.
At Diagnostiki Athinon we answer any questions you may have about the test you perform in our laboratory and we contact your doctor to get the best possible medical care.