In August of 2013, I was diagnosed with a genetically inherited disease called Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Protein Deficiency, also known as AAT Deficiency or Alpha-1. In typical individuals, large amounts of alpha-1 antitrypsin protein are made in the liver and released into the bloodstream. In affected individuals, altered genes make abnormally shaped AAT proteins, which are retained in the liver, creating a deficiency in the circulating blood.
Normal AAT protein levels protect the lungs from the destructive effects of white blood cells circulating in the lungs. When the levels of AAT protein are low or absent, lung deterioration can occur. Alpha-1 is a cause of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, even in people like myself who have never smoked.
The Registered Respiratory Therapist who conducts the Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program at Overlook Medical Center in Summit, NJ, gave our class the American Lung Association's postcard with the QRC code to download the State of the Air app. I am most grateful for her thoughtful gesture and for the information I can obtain from this app.
Since I must avoid environmental pollutants that irritate the lungs, I have found this app to be very handy in helping me determine when it is unsafe for me to be outside, especially when exercising. My thanks to the American Lung Association for providing this free app!