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Staying Healthy

Alpha-1 usually does not, in and of itself, cause disease of the lungs or other organs. Rather, Alpha-1 makes individuals more susceptible to the risk factors that have the potential of causing organ damage in anyone. Thus, while certain environmental exposures might lead to relatively mild forms of lung or liver disease in individuals without Alpha-1, in those with Alpha-1 the same exposures can lead to more severe disease. It is important to understand that many individuals with Alpha-1 never develop any of these diseases. And while some of this variability may be related to each individual’s total genetic makeup, the major influences on the development of disease appear to be exposure to risk factors that are entirely or partially controllable.