For a small percentage of COPD patients, the disease is genetic. Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency (AATD) is the leading known genetic cause of emphysema 2. A lack of the Alpha-1 Antitrypsin protein allows white blood cells to damage the lung cells and can lead to COPD.
Scientists believe there may be other genetic influences as not everyone who has COPD is a smoker or has an Alpha-1 Antitrypsin deficiency, but other genetic causes have yet to be determined.
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