Former NFL Player and Coach Scores Renewed Health After .pdf

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					                 Former NFL Player and Coach Scores Renewed Health
                      After Diagnosis of Hereditary Emphysema
    (NAPSA)—After more than
four decades on the football field
with some of the nation’s biggest
and toughest men, former NFL
player and coach Monte Clark was
nearly sidelined by a little-known
medical condition.
    Clark, age 69, was diagnosed
five years ago with Alpha1-Anti-
trypsin (AAT) deficiency, a geneti-
cally linked disorder also known
as Alpha-1 or hereditary emphy-
sema. An estimated 100,000 peo-
ple in the U.S. have Alpha-1 and
up to 95 percent are undiagnosed.1
The condition is caused by a
reduction or lack of the blood pro-
tein AAT in the lungs.                        lakefront home to convince Clark              with an unknown cause.
    When a simple, inexpensive                that his increasingly labored                     “For anyone with this diagno-
blood test revealed that Clark had            breathing was serious enough                  sis, I recommend talking with an
Alpha-1, he had only recently                 that he needed medical help.                  expert and fellow Alphas,” Clark
completed chemotherapy to com-                   “I was reaching down to untie a            said. “By opening myself up to
bat Waldenstrom’s disease, a can-             rope from our boat and she said,              others, I found the optimism I’d
cer of the immune system. He                  ‘Grandpa, what are you blowing                always had on the football field. I
wasn’t ready for more bad news                on?’ I wasn’t blowing; I was gasp-            was finally able to do something
about his health.                             ing. I could hardly breathe. That’s           about my condition.”
    “I didn’t want to hear it,” Clark         when I knew it was time to take                   “Early detection is important,”
said. “I avoided my doctor’s treat-           action,” Clark said.                          said Clark’s pulmonologist, Steven
ment recommendation and figured                  Soon after, Clark attended an              Gay, M.D., of the University of
the diagnosis was something I                 Alpha-1 Foundation seminar on                 Michigan Medical Center. “Alpha-
could deal with down the line, if I           AAT deficiency and learned more               1 can be accelerated by lifestyle
had to.”                                      about the disease and its symp-               factors, including smoking, and
    In his NFL career, Clark had              toms by meeting doctors and other             cannot be reversed once it causes
played through injuries and                   health care professionals and peo-            deterioration in the lungs. But
earned a tough reputation, as well            ple who have the condition. He                many Alpha patients can enjoy a
as three Super Bowl rings and a               learned that the shortness of                 full and active lifestyle with
record for the winningest season              breath and wheezing he had expe-              proper diagnosis and treatment.”
in NFL history working with for-              rienced were just two of the symp-                Clark attests to that fact. “I’m
mer Miami Dolphins head coach                 toms that can indicate Alpha-1.               able to do most things and I feel
Don Shula. He was used to physi-              According to the American Tho-                good,” he said. “I’ve realized that
cal adversity.                                racic Society and the European                the best approach to any chronic
    “When I continued to have                 Respiratory Society, other symp-              disease is to face it head-on with
trouble with chronic shortness of             toms and conditions that can indi-            an attitude of hope and persever-
breath, I thought I could handle              cate or lead to hereditary emphy-             ance. I have always said that
it,” said Clark. “But Alpha-1 was             sema include chronic obstructive              adversity doesn’t build character,
making this old footballer winded             pulmonary disease (COPD), fam-                it reveals it.”
just walking up the stairs.”                  ily history of emphysema/COPD,                    For details about AAT defi-
    It took an innocent comment               liver disease or panniculitis,                ciency or to order an educational
made by his granddaughter dur-                asthma that doesn’t respond well              brochure, call (866) 272-5278 or
ing an outing at his Michigan                 to medication and liver disease               visit
  American Thoracic Society/European Respiratory Society Statement: Standards for the diagnosis and management of individuals with
alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency. Am J Resp Crit Care Med 2003;168:818-900.

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