COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, is a serious lung disease that over time makes it hard to breathe. Other names for COPD include chronic bronchitis or emphysema. COPD, a leading cause of death, affects millions of Americans and causes long-term disability.
AAT is a protein made in your liver to help protect the lungs. If your body does not make enough AAT, your lungs are more easily damaged from smoking, pollution, or dust from the environment. This can lead to COPD. AAT deficiency may also cause a liver disease called cirrhosis. This is more common in children who have AAT deficiency.