By now you’ve probably heard that the world lost a beloved actor, poet and photographer today. Some of you know him as “Spock,” while to his family he was Leonard Nimoy, a husband and father. Nimoy passed away from the third leading cause of death in the United States: chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Nimoy was open with his fans about his COPD diagnosis and often used Twitter to highlight the importance of quitting smoking, tweeting things such as: “Don’t smoke. I did. Wish I never had. LLAP.” Nimoy signed all of his tweets with “LLAP,” a nod to Mr. Spock’s signature catchphrase “Live Long and Prosper.” In honor of his work raising awareness around smoking and COPD, we’d like to help shed some light on this disease:
What is COPD?
COPD is a type of lung disease that can cause breathing-related problems due to the blockage of airflow through the lungs caused by irritation and damage of the lung tissue. Tens of millions of people suffer from lung disease in the US alone. While airway, lung tissue and lung circulation disease are the most common forms of lung disease, many diseases can involve a combination of those.
Types of COPD include emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and in some cases asthma. It is often caused by the exposure to tobacco smoke. Other contributing factors include exposure to air pollutants in the home and workplace, genetic factors and respiratory infections.
How do I prevent COPD?
Leonard Nimoy maintained an active voice against smoking after his diagnosis. Not only are smokers at an increased risk, but also those who have been exposed to tobacco through second-hand smoke. Avoiding air pollutants at both home and work can also reduce your risk of developing COPD.
How do I know if I have COPD?
COPD is diagnosed by a simple test called spirometry, which measures lung function. If detected early, it is possible to change the progression of the disease. If you experience difficulty breathing, you should consult your physician.
To learn more about COPD, click here. To make an appointment with a thoracic specialist, call 404-778-7777.
“Live long and prosper.”
- Leonard Nimoy
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “What is COPD?”; 2015. http://www.cdc.gov/copd/
- Hadjiliadis D. “Lung disease.” MedLine Plus; 2014. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000066.htm