LAM What Is LAM?
LAM, or lymphangioleiomyomatosis, is a rare type of lung disease that affects mostly women of childbearing age (the years between puberty and menopause when it is possible to become pregnant).
In people who have LAM, abnormal muscle-like cells begin to grow out of control in the lungs and in the lymph nodes and kidneys. Over time, these LAM cells can destroy healthy lung tissue. As a result, fluid-filled pockets called cysts may develop, preventing air from moving freely in and out of the lungs. This can prevent oxygen from reaching the rest of the body.
There are two types of LAM.
- TSC-LAM occurs in some people who have a rare disease called tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC).
- People who do not have TSC can develop sporadic LAM. Sporadic LAM is not hereditary, meaning you cannot pass it on to your children.
Symptoms of LAM may include shortness of breath, tiredness, and cough. LAM can be difficult to diagnose, as the symptoms often look like asthma, bronchitis, and other lung diseases.
Sometimes, LAM develops slowly. You may not discover you have LAM until you feel stabbing chest pain and have a hard time breathing. Both of these symptoms mean that air has leaked into the space between the chest wall and the lung, causing a collapsed lung (pneumothorax). This is a common complication of LAM that requires treatment right away.
If you are diagnosed with LAM, your doctor may prescribe medicine to help prevent more damage to your lungs and to treat other symptoms or health problems. Over time, LAM can cause permanent damage to the lungs or lead to respiratory failure, which happens when your blood doesn’t bring enough oxygen to your organs to keep them working well.