What is lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM)?
Lymphangioleiomyomatosis, commonly known as LAM, is a rare disorder of unknown etiology characterized by an unusual type of muscle cell that invades the tissues of the lungs, including the airways, and blood and lymph vessels. Over time, these muscle cells form into bundles that obstruct the flow of air, preventing the lungs from providing oxygen to the rest of the body. LAM may be associated with a genetic disorder known as Tuberous Sclerosis.The disease is characterized by the abnormal growth of smooth muscle, leading to airway obstruction and cystic lesions (blebs) in the lungs. The symptoms of Lymphangioleiomyomatosis may include shortness of breath, coughing, and/or difficulty breathing (dyspnea), especially following periods of exercise or exertion. Affected individuals may experience repeated episodes of chest pain due to fluid accumulation around the lungs (pleural effusion). Collapse of a lung (pneumothorax) is also common in females with this disorder. The exact cause of Lymphangioleiomyomatosis is not known.