Barbara Bush‘s death Tuesday has put the national spotlight on chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, a group of lung conditions including asthma, emphysema and chronic bronchitis commonly caused by tobacco smoking.
The former first lady, who smoked cigarettes for decades before quitting in 1968, was diagnosed with congestive heart failure and COPD, which has been a persistent killer of African-Americans for several years. Many non-smokers are also affected by the disease. Air pollutants, including secondhand smoke and some heating fuels, as well as dust, gases and fumes are also cited as causes. Genetic predisposition can cause the disease, too.
COPD is the third leading cause of death in the U.S. and affects millions, according to “COPD in a Population-Based Sample of Never-Smokers: Interactions among Sex, Gender, and Race,” a study published in the International Journal Of Chronic Diseases in 2016. Looking at the numbers among non-smokers, 7% of African-American women were reported to have COPD, as opposed to 5.2% of White women, the study revealed.
Common COPD symptoms include chronic cough, shortness of breath, wheezing, not being able to take deep breaths and chronic phlegm production, according to the Center For Disease Control and Prevention. Though COPD may be underreported with infrequent research and studies about the disease’s facts available to people, it is still a crisis mainly affecting African-Americans.
COPD death rates among Blacks and women have been rapidly rising — an alarming pattern that breaks away from a longstanding belief that the disease only harmed White male smokers. But why are Black people more susceptible to the disease?
African-Americans and women may be particularly susceptible to tobacco smoke, according to the National Center For Biotechnology Information.
The high prevalence and mortality rates of Blacks with cardiovascular disease, diabetes and strokes have also been considered in determining how to stop COPD from being deadly. Questions of whether race or gender influence COPD susceptibility have also been introduced in trying to figure out the future impact of the disease.
Treatments to manage COPD symptoms include inhalers and other medications, oxygen, physical activity training and pulmonary rehabilitation. There is currently no cure for COPD. However, with medical professionals trying to figure out the disease’s future impact, a cure is hoped for soon.
In Memoriam: Notable Deaths In 2018
1. George Taliaferro, 911 of 31
2. Otis Rush, 84Source:Getty 2 of 31
3. George Walker, 96Source:Getty 3 of 31
4. Kofi Annan, 80Source:WENN 4 of 31
5. Aretha Franklin, 76Source:Getty 5 of 31
6. Ron Dellums, 836 of 31
7. Angela Bowen, 827 of 31
8. Joe Jackson, 89Source:Getty 8 of 31
9. XXXTentacion, 20Source:Getty 9 of 31
10. Neal Boyd, 42Source:Getty 10 of 31
11. Dorothy Cotton, 88Source:Getty 11 of 31
12. Jalal Mansur Nuriddin, 74Source:Getty 12 of 31
13. Dovey Johnson Roundtree, 10413 of 31
14. Velvalea Rodgers 'Vel' Phillips, 9414 of 31
15. Doris Ward, 86Source:Getty 15 of 31
16. Yvonne Staples, 80Source:Getty 16 of 31
17. Cecil Taylor, 89Source:Getty 17 of 31
18. Donald McKayle, 87Source:Getty 18 of 31
19. Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, 81Source:Getty 19 of 31
20. Linda Brown, 76Source:Getty 20 of 31
21. Les Payne, 7621 of 31
22. Floyd J. Carter, Sr., 95Source:Getty 22 of 31
23. Ensa Cosby, 4423 of 31
24. Lerone Bennett Jr., 89Source:Getty 24 of 31
25. Reg E. CatheySource:Getty 25 of 31
26. Lovebug Starski, 57Source:Getty 26 of 31
27. Olivia Cole, 75Source:Getty 27 of 31
28. Wyatt Tee Walker, 88Source:Getty 28 of 31
29. Jesse 'Smiley' RutlandSource:WENN 29 of 31
30. Hugh Masekela, 78Source:Getty 30 of 31
31. Edwin Hawkins, 74Source:Getty 31 of 31
Barbara Bush Dies From COPD, A Disease That Kills Blacks And Women At High Rates was originally published on newsone.com