Living with Alpha-1

Many Alphas live a healthy and fulfilling life with proper treatment and lifestyle changes. With planning, education, support and most importantly, patience, it is possible to continue to work, travel and exercise and do the many things that you enjoy doing.

¿What now?

When you or your child is diagnosed with Alpha-1, there are some lifestyle changes that need to take place in order to stay healthy, including:

  • Quit smoking if you do, and keep away from second-hand smoke.
  • Avoid exposure to dust or fumes.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Eat well.
  • Drink alcohol with caution, if at all. Alcoholic beverages can cause damage to the liver even in normal people. Many authorities recommend low, infrequent or no alcohol consumption for ZZ patients, and patients with liver damage should avoid alcohol completely.
  • Review labels of over-the-counter medications, vitamins or herbal supplements carefully. Be careful with products containing acetaminophen and alcohol.
  • Advise your healthcare provider if you are taking vitamin supplements or herbal products.

After the Alpha-1 diagnosis, you may feel uncertainty, anger, fear, guilt, grief, and frustration. These are all normal feelings. Your next step is to learn how to cope with these feelings. Below are health management resources.


Knowledge is the key to understanding the diagnosis. A Patient Information Line (1-800-245-6809) is available for your convenience to access a multitude of resources including printed information and one-on-one peer connections with other Alphas and physician referrals if needed. Our free and confidential can help you understand your test results and provide information about family inheritance/risk factors, testing options, health management and other resources.

Family testing

Family testing for Alpha-1 could improve the lives and health of the people you love. If you have Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency (Alpha-1) – or are an Alpha-1 carrier – we suggest that your relatives be tested. 


The treatment options depend on your symptoms.

Written by Alpha-1 Foundation

Centro Andaluz Alfa-1