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