What are the symptoms of Alpha-1?

Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency (Alpha-1) can cause a variety of symptoms. Symptoms of Alpha-1 can begin early in life, but usually start in people between 20 and 50 years old.

Alpha-1 symptoms related to the lungs include: 

  • Shortness of breath, particularly with exertion
  • Wheezing
  • Chronic cough, often with sputum (phlegm) 
  • Frequent chest colds 
  • Extreme tiredness (fatigue)

Excessive Phlegm May Be a Sign of Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency

If your body consistently produces excessive phlegm, you may have Alpha-1.

Alpha-1 symptoms related to the liver include:

  • Eyes and skin turning yellow (jaundice)
  • Swelling of the legs or belly (ascites) 
  • Throwing up blood or passing blood in the stool
  • Itchy skin

Some people with Alpha-1 develop painful, red bumps on the skin called panniculitis. These bumps may break open and leak fluid or pus.

Not all people with Alpha-1 have symptoms.