Does Lung Disease Run In Families?

Lung Disease

What lung diseases are hereditary?

Out of many lung diseases, only a few are genetically inherited. The most common lung disease that runs in families is Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), and the rarest is Pulmonary fibrosis. Familial pulmonary fibrosis is rare, but COPD is common.

According to Healthline, more than 179 million people all around the world suffer from COPD. As per studies, one in every 100 COPD cases is due to hereditary reasons.

What is COPD? What are its causes?

COPD stands for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. It is a cluster of related diseases that damage and cause inflammations in the lungs and their airways. Emphysema and chronic bronchitis are seen more often in COPD patients.

COPD is not always hereditary. It has many different causes, out of which family history and smoking are major ones. Other causes include environmental factors such as inhalation of chemical fumes, air pollution, dust, etc.

How is COPD inherited?

COPD is not inherited directly. A genetic deficiency of AAT (alpha-1 antitrypsin) can cause COPD. A person having AAT deficiency is more susceptible to COPD even if he does not smoke and lives in a cleaner environment away from dust and pollution.

How are AAT and COPD related?

AAT stands for alpha-1 antitrypsin. It is a protein that protects the body against the enzyme neutrophil elastase. When a person has AAT deficient gene, the enzyme neutrophil elastase can easily attack the lungs, which causes COPD.

Does AAT deficiency run in families?

Yes, AAT deficiency is hereditary. But, AAT deficiency is active only when inherited from both parents. If inherited from a single parent, the person becomes a carrier and passes the deficient gene to his children. In this manner, lung diseases run in families.

What are the symptoms of AAT deficiency and COPD?

AAT deficiency and COPD have many common symptoms. People having AAT deficiency may also show COPD symptoms at an early age.

The early-stage symptoms of AAT deficiency are:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing
  • Regular cough and chest-colds
  • Regular lung infections

While the symptoms of COPD are:

  • Regular cough
  • Increase in mucus production
  • Shortness of breath during walking and exercise
  • Chest tightness

These symptoms go from mild to severe with progression in COPD. If you find yourself suffering any of the symptoms mentioned, consult your doctor. You can also get a Pulmonary Fibrosis test done on the safer side.

How to prevent COPD?

The best way to prevent COPD is to avoid and eventually eliminate smoking. Smoking is the biggest reason for COPD. More than 50% of smokers get COPD after the age of 50. When a person starts to smoke at an early age, his lung development gets hampered. It makes his lungs more susceptible to infections and diseases such as COPD.

Apart from stopping to smoke, by reducing exposure to chemical fumes, air pollutants, and irritants, the risk of COPD reduces. Consult the best lungs specialist in Coimbatore to know more.

What is the best treatment for COPD?

COPD is a progressive disease that increases over time. There is no cure for COPD. But, the best treatment for COPD is taking steps to slow the pace of COPD progression.

COPD progression is reduced by making lifestyle changes and following proper medications. Getting early medical attention is required.

Lifestyle changes to slow COPD progression are:

Quit smoking

Smoking is one big reason for COPD. Regular smokers not having AAT deficiency are equally prone to COPD as non-smokers with AAT deficiency. A regular smoker with AAT deficiency is at a high risk of COPD due to damaged lungs.

Smoke from cigarettes and other tobacco products fastens the progression of COPD. Hence, quitting is the best decision a COPD patient takes. Quitting is difficult and requires a lot of perseverance. You can plan and take therapy to help you in quitting.

Avoid passive smoking

Passive smoking is also known as second-hand smoking. Being around a person when he is smoking is passive smoking. Second-hand smoke does the same damage to the lungs as smoking does. Keep distance from smokers to avoid passive smoking.

Reduce and eventually avoid hanging with friends when they smoke. It is necessary to protect the lungs from tobacco smoke. If not, COPD will get worse with time.

Live in a cleaner environment

Reduce being exposed to chemical fumes, environmental toxins such as air pollutants and irritants. Apart from tobacco smoke, air pollutants, dust, and chemical fumes cause COPD. Hence, living in a cleaner and greener environment not only prevents COPD. It also helps in slowing the progression of COPD if already affected.


Certain lung diseases do run in families, and it is difficult to prevent hereditary disorders. Hence, the best way to face such diseases is by reading more about them- their symptoms, causes, cures and getting medical help at the earliest.

Are you looking for lung disease treatment in Coimbatore? Get in touch with the best lungs hospital in Coimbatore.