COLUMBUS— Earlier this year, Representative Terry Johnson introduced House Bill 29 which recognizes a rare genetic disease afflicting many Ohioans. The bill designates November as “Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency Awareness Month”. HB 29 was passed unanimously by the Ohio House and Senate and was signed by the Governor is June.
Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency is a condition in which the body does not make enough of a protein that protects the lungs and liver from damage. It is caused by a genetic defect and can lead to lung and liver disease. This disorder affects about 1 in 2,500 Americans.
“I am very pleased with the action taken by the state of Ohio”, said Johnson. “Recognition of this disease in the form of an awareness month will help citizens in Ohio identify the symptoms and find the correct diagnosis. I learned about this disease as a medical student; I diagnosed it and treated it as a doctor in my medical practice; but meeting with the local support group, Strickly Alphas, really brought the human nature of this disease home to me in a manner that I had never experienced before. I have nothing but the greatest respect for the work that these good people do every day.” Representative Johnson was referring to the Strickly Alpha support group which is named for Jesse Strickland. If you go to alpha1.org, you will be able to find more detail and meeting dates.