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WHEREAS, Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency (Alpha-1) is an inherited disorder that can lead to serious lung and liver disease in children and adults; and
WHEREAS, Alpha-1 Antitrypsin is a protein produced mostly in the liver, with the primary function of protecting the lungs from neutrophil elastase, an enzyme that (if left unchecked) can damage healthy lung tissue; and
WHEREAS, symptoms of Alpha-1 include shortness of breath, wheezing or non-responsive asthma, coughing without phlegm production, recurring respiratory infections, rapid deterioration of lung function, unexplained liver problems, and elevated liver enzymes; and
WHEREAS, people with Alpha-1 develop the first signs and symptoms of lung disease between the ages of twenty and fifty; and
WHEREAS, Alpha-1 has been identified in virtually all populations, and this disorder affects about 1 in 1,500 to 3,500 individuals with European ancestry; and
WHEREAS, Alpha-1 is widely underdiagnosed and misdiagnosed, and fewer than ten percent of those predicted to have Alpha-1 have been diagnosed, and it often takes an average of three doctors and seven years from the time symptoms appear before proper diagnosis is made, which can be done using a simple blood test; and
WHEREAS, during the month of November, a nationwide awareness campaign will take place throughout the country to educate the public, as well as the medical community, on Alpha-1 detection and treatment for those affected by this condition; and
WHEREAS, it is important to increase awareness and detection of this serious hereditary and misdiagnosed disorder;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Ralph S. Northam, do hereby recognize November 2019 as ALPHA-1 ANTITRYPSIN DEFICIENCY AWARENESS MONTH in our COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.