It's important to know that LAM manifests itself in a wide variety of ways, so it is sometimes difficult to diagnose. The difficulty of the diagnosis is compounded by the fact that a lot of the symptoms of LAM are similar to those of other lung diseases such as asthma, emphysema, and bronchitis. Chest x-rays are not usually sufficient to detect LAM, but a high-resolution chest CT scan can detect the characteristic cystic structure of LAM, thus providing an accurate diagnosis, if other manifestations of the disease (e.g., benign kidney tumor, lung collapse, or fluid in the lungs) are present. In some circumstances, a lung biopsy may be needed to provide an accurate diagnosis.
• LAM usually does not appear on an x-ray. A lung biopsy or a high-resolution CT scan of the chest, and often the abdominal area, is required for accurate diagnosis.
• Lymphangioleiomyomatosis is pronounced lim-fan-gee-o-ly-o-my-o-ma-to-sis. “Lymph” refers to the lymph vessels and “angio” refers to the blood vessels. “Leiomy” means smooth muscle, “oma” is a tumor, and “tosis,” refers to a disease/condition.
• LAM was first described in medical literature in 1919.
• Approximately 50% of women with LAM have a benign kidney tumor called
• Pneumothoraces (lung collapse) ultimately occur in approximately 60-70% of patients with LAM and the rate of recurrence is over 70%; the highest among all chronic lung diseases.