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. Kim Porter, 47Source:Getty 1 of 34
2. Willie McCovey, 802 of 34
3. Ntozake Shange, 703 of 34
4. George Taliaferro, 914 of 34
5. Otis Rush, 84Source:Getty 5 of 34
6. George Walker, 96Source:Getty 6 of 34
7. Kofi Annan, 80Source:WENN 7 of 34
8. Aretha Franklin, 76Source:Getty 8 of 34
9. Ron Dellums, 839 of 34
10. Angela Bowen, 8210 of 34
11. Joe Jackson, 89Source:Getty 11 of 34
12. XXXTentacion, 20Source:Getty 12 of 34
13. Neal Boyd, 42Source:Getty 13 of 34
14. Dorothy Cotton, 88Source:Getty 14 of 34
15. Jalal Mansur Nuriddin, 74Source:Getty 15 of 34
16. Dovey Johnson Roundtree, 10416 of 34
17. Velvalea Rodgers 'Vel' Phillips, 9417 of 34
18. Doris Ward, 86Source:Getty 18 of 34
19. Yvonne Staples, 80Source:Getty 19 of 34
20. Cecil Taylor, 89Source:Getty 20 of 34
21. Donald McKayle, 87Source:Getty 21 of 34
22. Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, 81Source:Getty 22 of 34
23. Linda Brown, 76Source:Getty 23 of 34
24. Les Payne, 7624 of 34
25. Floyd J. Carter, Sr., 95Source:Getty 25 of 34
26. Ensa Cosby, 4426 of 34
27. Lerone Bennett Jr., 89Source:Getty 27 of 34
28. Reg E. CatheySource:Getty 28 of 34
29. Lovebug Starski, 57Source:Getty 29 of 34
30. Olivia Cole, 75Source:Getty 30 of 34
31. Wyatt Tee Walker, 88Source:Getty 31 of 34
32. Jesse 'Smiley' RutlandSource:WENN 32 of 34
33. Hugh Masekela, 78Source:Getty 33 of 34
34. Edwin Hawkins, 74Source:Getty 34 of 34
Barbara Bush Dies From COPD, A Disease That Kills Blacks And Women At High Rates was originally published on newsone.com