Lungs for Lisa

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
an angiomyolipoma.

• 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.

Did you know?

Lymphangioleiomyomatosis , better known as LAM, is a fatal, progressive lung disease that typically strikes women in the prime of their lives - most often during their childbearing years. There is no cure for this disease and unfortunately, most women and many health care providers, including pulmonary specialists, are unaware of its existence or symptoms.  

LAM is a systemic neoplasm that results in cystic destruction of the lung.  It's characterized by an abnormal growth of smooth muscle cells which grow uncontrollably. These cells invade healthy lung tissues, including the airways, along with blood and lymph vessels. Although these smooth muscle cells are not considered cancerous, because of their uncontrollable growth within the lungs, over time, these cells accumulate. When this happens, they form clusters and cysts in the airways, blood, and lymph vessels, creating holes within the once healthy lung tissues. At this point, the delicate architecture of the lungs is destroyed and the airflow is blocked, limiting the delivery of oxygen to the rest of the body. This makes breathing a daily battle for those afflicted with the disease.

​The cause of LAM remains unknown, and although great strides have been made in researching the disease, no cure is yet available.
What is LAM?