November 2019: Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency Awareness Month

WHEREAS, Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency (Alpha-1) is one of the most common genetic conditions passed from parents to their children which may result in serious lung disease in adults, liver disease at any age, and/or a skin condition call panniculitis in rare cases; and,  

WHEREAS, Alpha-1 occurs when there is a severe lack of the protein in the blood called alpha-1 antitrypsin (AAT) that is produced mainly by the liver; the low level of AAT in the blood occurs because the AAT is abnormal and isn’t released from the liver at a normal rate, which results in a buildup of AAT in the liver that can cause liver disease; and,

WHEREAS, it is estimated that about 1 in every 2,500 Americans have Alpha-1, and up to 6 percent of Caucasians in the U.S. carry a single deficient gene; although Alpha-1 has been identified in virtually all populations, its prevalence varies by population; and,

WHEREAS, Alpha-1 is often under diagnosed or misdiagnosed, and it often takes years from the time symptoms appear before proper diagnosis is made, which can be done using a simple blood test; and,

WHEREAS, it is important to increase awareness and detection of this hereditary condition so that affected individuals can properly manage Alpha-1; and,

WHEREAS, all newborns with prolonged jaundice or nonspecific signs of liver disease and adults with chronic respiratory diseases should consider screening for Alpha-1;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Gretchen Whitmer, governor of Michigan, do hereby proclaim November 2019 as Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency Awareness Month in Michigan.