LAM Causes and Risk Factors


What causes LAM?

Most often LAM is caused by changes in the structure of one of two tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) genes, called TSC1 and TSC2. These changes, or mutations, can also lead to a condition called tuberous sclerosis complex. Abnormal cells that behave like muscle cells appear and grow out of control in organs or tissues, such as the lungs, kidneys, and lymph nodes. The location and growth of these cells causes the symptoms of LAM.

Researchers believe that the hormone estrogen plays a role, because the condition affects mostly women after puberty and before menopause. The condition also gets worse during pregnancy and after using medicines with estrogen, such as birth control. After a woman goes through menopause, LAM sometimes stops getting worse.

Can LAM be prevented?

There is no way to prevent LAM. If you have TSC, your healthcare provider may recommend that you not smoke or take medicine with estrogen. This may help slow down the development of LAM. If you have TSC-LAM, your doctor may recommend genetic counseling before you get pregnant to help you understand the risk of passing TSC and LAM on to your children.

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