• By Dana Sparks

Sharing Mayo Clinic: Pushing forward despite serious lung condition

September 24, 2017

In the Loop lung disease patient Angela Tewksbury outside on a hilltop holding up her arms in triumphBeing diagnosed with a rare, incurable lung disease, known as LAM, has slowed Angela Tewksbury down, but she's not out. By sharing her story, the Mayo Clinic microbiologist hopes to shed light on this uncommon disorder, so others can get prompt diagnosis and treatment.

When fitness enthusiast Angela Tewksbury began experiencing breathing problems during her workouts in May 2017, the 42-year-old guessed she was developing asthma or allergies as part of getting older. She never imagined that seeking advice from a Mayo Clinic pulmonologist about whether she needed an inhaler would lead to the diagnosis of an incurable disease. But that's exactly what happened.

Angela was diagnosed with lymphangioleiomyomatosis, or LAM, a rare lung disease. Now she's hoping her story draws attention to the hard-to-pronounce, progressive disease, which primarily affects women between the ages of 20 to 40.

Rare, often hidden, problem

Looking back, Angela, a microbiologist at Mayo Clinic's Arizona campus, believes the disease began affecting her as early as 2009. At that time she underwent a CT scan for esophageal concerns. The image also featured portions of her lungs, which showed shady spots. The blurry areas were noted as something that should be followed up on. That follow-up didn't occur, and neither did any symptoms, until 2017. Read the rest of Angela's story.

This article originally appeared on the Sharing Mayo Clinic blog.