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3129223 tn?1342437934

COPD, pseudomonas, and hereditary factors?

Bear with me for a minute while I try to explain this.  My mom has been dealing with lung issues for as long as I can remember.  I remember when I was about 5 or 6 (she would have been somewhere between 29-30), she used to be in the bathroom coughing and throwing up she was coughing so hard.  She was once a smoker, but eventually quit.  She has been dealing with asthma since she was young  (I know, smoking wasn't smart- my sister and I used to get so frustrated with her), but I think there was always something more there, and the way she explained it to me was that the issues were always there, smoking just exasperated it (most 29 year old smokers don't have the problems she used to have).  The doctors did find pseudomonas in her lungs, and I believe she was diagnosed with COPD (could've been another lung disease).  Her pulmonologist suggested a lung transplant last time she was in the hospital, but now it's been progressing and the antibiotics, etc. are not working well to help her anymore (she ended up in the hospital again less than a week later), so her pulmonologist is now saying she needs to get on the lung transplant process as soon as possible.  

My sister smoked for a short period of time and had a pretty bad smokers cough in that short period, my brother had asthma, and I get bronchitis easily (or used to - not as much anymore).  Also, my grandpa died of emphysema, but was never a smoker (my mom has questioned that as it seems a little odd for someone to die of emphysema when they've never smoked).  I, by the way, do NOT smoke and won't touch a cigarette, and am a runner, though I've been tested for breathing problems because I do sometimes have issues with breathing while running.  I guess, how likely is it that these problems are hereditary? And can pseudomonas be passed on between a mother and her kids?  I have no idea how long she's had the infection, and if that caused her early problems, or if her bad lungs were inherited from her father.  
1 Responses
242587 tn?1355427710
Pseudomonas infection of the lung can occur with asthma or chronic bronchitis but seldom does and would be atypical with COPD.  When it does occur, it suggests the possibility of Cystic Fibrosis (CF).  CF is usually considered a disease of childhood and adolescence but, in recent years, persons have been diagnosed with CF for the first time in their 30’s or even their 40’s.

You have provided a nicely detailed family history that suggests an inherited linkage of the different lung diseases experienced by your family members.
There is a condition called Alpha-1 anti-trypsin Disease or Alpha one protease disease, and this condition is most notably associated with early onset emphysema, even in never-smokers but can also lead to,  bad chronic bronchitis.  The test for this disease is a blood test that measures the level of “alpha-1”

And, there are other less common inherited lung disease.  To answer your question, the family history strongly suggests a pattern of inherited lung disease.  I would strongly suggest that you consult with your Mother’s lung specialist and provide the facts cited below.  All the conditions I’ve mentioned are treatable except, perhaps, your Mom’s that must be severe and far advanced for lung transplantation to be a serious option.  Good luck to her and you.
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