What is LAM?
LAM is a lung disease that affects women. The main symptoms are shortness of breath with exertion, fatigue, cough and chest pain. Women with LAM often look completely healthy, but the lungs are full of holes and slowly being destroyed.
About 2/3 of women with LAM experience episodes of collapsed lung(s). Having a lung collapse means hospital admission, painful treatment and sometimes difficult lung surgery. About half the women with LAM also have kidney tumours called angiomyolipoma (AML). Some women have abdominal LAM and others have been diagnosed after bleeding kidney tumours. LAM is progressive, with no treatment or cure. LAM is diagnosed only in women and hits usually in the prime of life.
Continuous supplemental oxygen is often needed and the last option is a single- or double-lung transplant. So far, these options allow for the extension of life only but it is eventually fatal shortening the life span and the quality of life for virtually every woman with the disease. In the past, LAM was often misdiagnosed as asthma or emphysema, but now LAM can be diagnosed more easily from a lung biopsy or a CT-Scan. Women with LAM are still frequently misdiagnosed because many physicians continue to be unaware of this disease. It is important to obtain a correct diagnosis both because of the dangers of inappropriate treatments being applied and because of the steps that can be taken to make life more comfortable for women with LAM.