How can I stay healthy with alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency?
If you’re a smoker, stop smoking. This is essential to slow down the development of COPD and improve symptoms. Stopping smoking is both prevention and treatment. You should be offered help to quit if needed. If not, ask for it.
Avoid being regularly exposed to irritants such as dust and gas. If you’re exposed to irritants, for example at work, this might cause COPD to develop faster.
Stay away from friends or family when they have chest infections or colds. If you have AATD, chest infections can cause your lungs to become damaged more quickly. If you have a cough that produces green mucus or phlegm you should see your doctor as you probably have an infection and need a course of antibiotics.
Make sure you get a flu jab every year. This will help you avoid chest infections.
Ask your doctor about getting vaccinated against pneumonia.
Keep an eye on your alcohol intake. There’s no need to avoid alcohol completely but it’s wise to keep to the safe drinking guidance – less than 14 units per week.
If you have any more questions, our friendly helpline team are also there for a chat. Call 03000 030 555.
Alpha-1 UK support groups
You can find support from these groups for people with alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency, their families and carers: