Learn more about alpha1-antitrypsin deficiency

Find out why it's important for people with COPD, like you, to know if they are at risk for alpha1-antitrypsin deficiency

For many people, COPD can be caused by smoking, second-hand smoke, or environmental factors, like working with chemicals and other harmful substances that are breathed in on a regular basis.1 But for some people, COPD is actually caused by a rare genetic condition called alpha1-antitrypsin deficiency (AL-fa / one / an-tee-TRIP-sin / de-FISH-an-see), or alpha-1. This condition is also known as "genetic COPD," which is why it's important to be tested with a genetic test. AlphaID™ is a free and easy cheek swab that allows your healthcare professional to screen if you are at risk for genetic COPD.

Download the Alpha-1 Fact Sheet


What is alpha1-antitrypsin deficiency?

Alpha-1 is sometimes also referred to as "genetic COPD" and is caused by a deficiency in a specific protein called alpha1-antitrypsin. This protective protein plays a critical role in safeguarding the lungs. Having low levels of the alpha-1 protein can leave your lungs vulnerable to serious damage. Only your healthcare professional can test for alpha-1.2

Alpha-1 is a rare genetic condition that is passed down from your parents through your genes. This condition, which can go undetected for years, may result in serious lung disease.3


Who should be screened for alpha1-antitrypsin deficiency and why?

Guidelines from both the World Health Organization (WHO) and American Thoracic Society (ATS) recommend testing all people with COPD for alpha-1, regardless of their age or smoking history. If you've been diagnosed with COPD, you should get screened for alpha-1. If your healthcare professional then confirms a diagnosis of alpha-1, treatment options may exist in addition to your COPD medications.4,5


Why would I not have been tested for alpha1-antitrypsin deficiency before?

Alpha-1 is underdiagnosed because it is often overshadowed by patients' smoking history. In fact, more than 90% of the estimated 100,000 people in the United States who have alpha-1 don't know they have it. This is because people with genetic COPD experience the same symptoms as people with COPD, such as1,6:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing
  • Recurring chest colds
  • Low exercise tolerance
  • Year-round allergies

The only way you will know for sure if you have genetic COPD due to alpha-1 is to get tested.



How can I get screened for alpha1-antitrypsin deficiency?

Screening is easy and free with AlphaID. AlphaID and processing of the results are free, at no cost to you. Your insurance will not be billed.

Order your FREE AlphaID Genetic COPD Screener today to find out if you are at risk for genetic COPD due to alpha-1.


How is AlphaID performed?

AlphaID is a free and easy cheek swab that allows your healthcare professional to screen if you are at risk for genetic COPD. All the items your healthcare professional needs will be included in your AlphaID package. Your test will be processed at Biocerna, a testing laboratory, within 5 business daysafter receiving your AlphaID.

Patient confidentiality is our first priority. Results are only shared with you and your healthcare professional.  



COPD=chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

*The AlphaID Genetic COPD Screener is provided compliments of Grifols and may not be billed to patients or their health insurers.

Average processing time for results is within 5 business days from the time your AlphaID is received by the laboratory.



  1. What is COPD? COPD Foundation website. Accessed March 28, 2017.
  2. What causes alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency? National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute website. Updated October 11, 2011. Accessed March 28, 2017.
  3. What is alpha-1? Alpha-1 Foundation website. Accessed March 28, 2017.
  4. World Health Organization. α1-antitrypsin deficiency: memorandum from a WHO meeting. Bull World Health Organ. 1997;75(5):397-415.
  5. American Thoracic Society/European Respiratory Society statement: standards for the diagnosis and management of individuals with alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2003;168(7):818-900.
  6. Campos MA, Wanner A, Zhang G, Sandhaus RA. Trends in the diagnosis of symptomatic patients with α1-antitrypsin deficiency between 1968 and 2003. Chest. 2005;128(3):1179-1186.