Welcome to Alpha-1 Awareness, a UK Charity that Supports people with AATD

AATD or Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency is a lack of the protein alpha-1 antitrypsin (AAT) which is produced in the liver. The main job of AAT is to protect the lungs. A deficiency can lead to life-threatening lung and/or liver disease.

The first signs and symptoms of lung disease caused by alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency usually appear between ages 20 and 50.
The symptoms are:

  • shortness of breath following mild activity
  • reduced ability to exercise
  • wheezing

About ten percent of infants with the deficiency show signs of liver damage at birth. Fifteen percent of adult Alphas also develop liver disease.

Only a small fraction of alpha-1 antitrypsin deficient patients in the United Kingdom are aware of the causes of their condition.

Our charity is run by non-paid volunteers who all are either affected by Alpha-1 or have a family member who is. We all have a connection to Alpha-1 and this isn’t our day job. We have a real passion for the charity and for supporting people who are affected, their families and friends.

This website was created so that people can learn more about Alpha-1 and how to get support.  We produce our own booklets which people can download and view digitally (click here) and even request that a set be sent to them in the post for free. We have a private Facebook Group where we help to support people in a safe environment. If you would prefer one on one support, then you can email us directly on ‘support@alpha1.uk‘ or use our Contacts Us Form. We care, we want to help those affected, their families and their friends. We are also proud to be the only UK charity that is donating money to go directly to the research of a cure.

Charity to close

16th September 2021

After much debate and a considerable amount of time and thought, it is with great sadness we must announce that the Alpha-1 Awareness charity will not be continuing.  As of the 26th September 2021 we will be dissolving.

Given the above circumstance the AGM that was planned for the 25th will no longer go ahead.


Unfortunately, we have not been able to fill the chair role, with everyone on the board being volunteers and many having full time jobs and other commitments, it has not been possible for any of us to take on that position.  I know I speak for all the board when I say we truly wish we were able to continue, but we would not be giving it the time and effort it deserves.


We would like to thank all fundraisers and supporters past and present who have helped raise money to this charity whether it be large or small.  All the remaining charity funds will be going towards research in the hope to find that illusive cure.


We are, however, going to keep the Facebook group running  (it can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/alpha1awarenessuk), as we still wish to offer all our members support within a safe environment. The group is more like an extended family and we would hope that many of our ‘family members’ will continue on with us.


We are truly sorry that we have to let the charity close, it feels like the end of an era, but please know that we will still be here to support you.


From all of us on the Board

 Latest News


Alan Heywood-Jones speaks to ELF on Alpha Federation

The European Lung Foundation has published an interview with Alan Heywood-Jones, the chairman of the Alpha Europe Federation – as well as chairman of our very own charity (Alpha-1 Awareness UK). Alan discusses some of the issues involved with h
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Smoking Cessation

The European Respiratory Society (ERS) has established a Task Force which is working to produce a consensus statement on Smoking Cessation in COPD and other pulmonary disorders in smokers who are not willing to quit. To assist the work of this group,
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Fourth International Alpha Patients’ Congress

The 4th International Alpha-1 Patients’ Congress will be held in Barcelona on the 12th and 13th of April 2013. The congress has been timed to overlap an International Research Conference on Alpha-1 also held in Barcelona on the 11th and 12th of
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Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency makes Parliament; Questions in the House

For the first time in nearly a decade, Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency (AATD) has been mentioned in the House of Commons, by Mark Pawsey, Conservative MP for Rugby. His much-welcomed question came as part of the “Business Questions to the Leader
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Professor Lomas to join UCL

Professor David Lomas is set to join University College London as Dean of the Faculty of Medical Sciences and Chair of Medicine from 1st January 2013. Professor Lomas is Professor of Respiratory Biology in the University of Cambridge and Honorary Con
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Atlas of Variation in Healthcare

The NHS has published an Atlas of Variation in Healthcare for People with Respiratory Disease. Over 6 million people in England suffer from asthma or COPD, conditions which inflict a heavy burden on patients and carers and account for a significant p
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Portable device could boost number of lung transplants

A new device that can store and transport donor lungs has been developed by researchers in Germany. The Organ Care System is the first portable device that uses the process of normothermic perfusion, which uses the principle of keeping the lungs at b
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epetition for better treatment

An epetition has been created by Dr Ravi Mahadeva, the chairman of the Alpha-1 Alliance. Dr Mahadeva writes: “We’ve just launched an online petition to the Department of Health calling on the Government to nationally commission a specialised se
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This website is run by Alphas and their carers. We do our very best to ensure that all information shown here is up-to-date and accurate. However, you should always consult your own GP or other medical professional if you have the slightest concerns about your health.