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Don’t let COPD ruin your life !

​COPD- Celebrities too cannot escape this monstrous disease…

Over the years, celebrities who have suffered from COPD—most of whom developed emphysema from smoking—have, through their fame, brought greater awareness to this serious and life-threatening disease.

Many people have never heard of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). But it’s a lung condition that is predicted to become the third leading cause of death worldwide by the year 2020. People who have it can end up with inflamed or damaged airways that make it difficult to breathe. In most cases, COPD is caused by smoking.

An estimated 80 million people worldwide suffer from moderate to severe COPD and its responsible for 5% of all deaths globally which equates to 250 million per hour worldwide. Many people aren’t aware that COPD kills more people each year than lung and breast cancer combined.

It is not a glamorous disease. The most recognizable symptom of COPD is a chronic, hacking cough. And yet, over the years, celebrities who have suffered from COPD—most of whom developed emphysema from smoking—have, through their fame, brought greater awareness to this serious and life-threatening disease.

Lung disease affects millions of Americans, including the famous. Many celebrities have battled lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis, in the public eye. Others have fought to raise awareness of the disease. What can we learn from them?

Among such celebrities are Dean Martin, Christy Turlington, Amy Winehouse, Johnny Carson, and William F. Buckley. Buckley, the late editor of the National Review magazine and prominent conservative author of more than 50 books, was a cigar smoker for most of his adult life. As a result, he suffered from emphysema. Buckley is a reminder that any form of tobacco smoke can harm the lungs.

Though the symptoms of COPD mature with time and don’t show at early stages, sometimes heavy smoking might aggravate the condition and symptoms appear prematurely. Amy Winehouse, an internationally known singer was just 24 years old when she reportedly developed early stages of emphysema, or COPD. Although COPD most often affects men and women who are middle-aged and older, Winehouse is an example that young people are at risk, too.

For people who smoke fearlessly thinking that they are young and therefore would not be affected by it, serious lessons are there to be learnt. This iconic entertainer and member of the “Rat Pack” lived a glamorous young life full of cocktails and cigarettes. But it was one he paid for dearly in his older years. Martin’s heavy smoking habit eventually led to the development of emphysema, and he died of severe respiratory complications at the age of 78.

However, there’s one actress Loni Anderson who actually made a lot of effort to increase awareness about this disease. The actress grew up in a home where smoking was the norm. She woke each morning to the hacking coughs of her parents, both of whom suffered from chronic bronchitis. Instead of following in their footsteps, Anderson went on to raise public awareness about COPD.

The daughter of two long-time smokers, Anderson has also played the role of spokesperson for the National Lung Health Education Program’s campaign to increase awareness about Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).

People normally associate smoking with lung cancer, period. But that’s not the only risk. Even though a lot of people have been diagnosed with COPD, at least double or triple that number have the disease and aren’t aware of it. People think, they have asthma or just cough as they are getting older and a little shorter of breath and it’s no big deal.

As far as youngsters are concerned, they think that nothing bad will ever happen to them. They think that they can smoke now and look really cool, and then quit whenever they wish as they have plenty of time. They don’t know that their lungs are changed forever from the first cigarette. No matter when they quit—although quitting is a good thing, it will extend their life but the damage to their lungs that can never be reversed. People don’t realize that they could be getting help and some relief.

There is no cure for emphysema [progressive destruction of the lung’s ability to gather oxygen] but one can start treating it so to have a better quality of life. There’s Spirometry test available in hospitals that helps in the diagnosis of COPD. People will come to know of the Spirometry facility only if they consult their doctor when they sense the symptoms.

From the above discussion one could only draw one conclusion- Stop Smoking! And get yourself checked by a good doctor when you feel the symptoms.

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