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.
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In Memoriam: Notable Deaths In 2018
1. Richard Overton, 112Source:Getty 1 of 39
2. Aretha Franklin, 76Source:Getty 2 of 39
3. Charles Weldon, 783 of 39
4. Nancy Wilson, 81Source:Getty 4 of 39
5. Willie Naulls, 84Source:Getty 5 of 39
6. Olivia Hooker, 103Source:Getty 6 of 39
7. Kim Porter, 47Source:Getty 7 of 39
8. Willie McCovey, 80Source:false 8 of 39
9. Ntozake Shange, 70Source:false 9 of 39
10. George Taliaferro, 91Source:false 10 of 39
11. Otis Rush, 84Source:Getty 11 of 39
12. George Walker, 96Source:Getty 12 of 39
13. Kofi Annan, 80Source:WENN 13 of 39
14. Ron Dellums, 83Source:false 14 of 39
15. Angela Bowen, 82Source:false 15 of 39
16. Joe Jackson, 89Source:Getty 16 of 39
17. XXXTentacion, 20Source:Getty 17 of 39
18. Neal Boyd, 42Source:Getty 18 of 39
19. Dorothy Cotton, 88Source:Getty 19 of 39
20. Jalal Mansur Nuriddin, 74Source:Getty 20 of 39
21. Dovey Johnson Roundtree, 104Source:false 21 of 39
22. Velvalea Rodgers 'Vel' Phillips, 94Source:false 22 of 39
23. Doris Ward, 86Source:Getty 23 of 39
24. Yvonne Staples, 80Source:Getty 24 of 39
25. Cecil Taylor, 89Source:Getty 25 of 39
26. Donald McKayle, 87Source:Getty 26 of 39
27. Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, 81Source:Getty 27 of 39
28. Linda Brown, 76Source:Getty 28 of 39
29. Les Payne, 76Source:false 29 of 39
30. Floyd J. Carter, Sr., 95Source:Getty 30 of 39
31. Ensa Cosby, 44Source:false 31 of 39
32. Lerone Bennett Jr., 89Source:Getty 32 of 39
33. Reg E. CatheySource:Getty 33 of 39
34. Lovebug Starski, 57Source:Getty 34 of 39
35. Olivia Cole, 75Source:Getty 35 of 39
36. Wyatt Tee Walker, 88Source:Getty 36 of 39
37. Jesse 'Smiley' RutlandSource:WENN 37 of 39
38. Hugh Masekela, 78Source:Getty 38 of 39
39. Edwin Hawkins, 74Source:Getty 39 of 39
Barbara Bush Dies From COPD, A Disease That Kills Blacks And Women At High Rates was originally published on newsone.com