Date of Conferral
Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
The purpose of the project was to increase awareness about alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency (AATD) in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), particularly among those with a familial history of genetic factor AATD; an additional goal was to understand its relationship to COPD. COPD is the third leading cause of death in the United States, with more than half of COPD patients experiencing significant disabilities. Major causes for COPD include smoking, air pollution, secondary smoke, upper respiratory infections, hereditary factors, occupational factors, environmental factors, and socioeconomic factors. Genetic factors, however, also play a significant role in early onset COPD and in those who smoke and have the genetic factor related to COPD (AATD), symptoms are more severe and exacerbations more frequent. Undiagnosed AATD can result in under treatment and lack of planning for preventing COPD onset and exacerbation in these patients. COPD clients of a local pharmacy (n =31) were invited to complete a Likert survey and given materials on COPD exacerbation prevention and information on AATD. Results indicated that 38.7% of respondents had early onset symptoms, positive family history, and no improvement in symptoms with smoking cessation. The results support that targeting those family members with COPD and providing information on genetic factors for this condition could decrease the frequency and severity of exacerbations. This is in keeping with the health belief model that guided this study in that a perceived risk for harm has the potential to improve the use of preventative health measures in individuals.