COPD In The Baby Boomer Generation


What a harsh cold winter we're having here in Michigan. I started my weekend with a three mile walk (cut short to 1 mile), cleaned up my humble abode (almost), grabbed a cup of coffee (always do), and started my Saturday ritual of reading the news online.

Poor Justin Beaver, will he ever grow up?

Did you read Clint Eastwood saved a man from choking to death?  He apparently jumped into action, stood behind the man, wrapped his still strong Dirty Harry arms around him and executed a few lifts while preforming the Heimlich maneuver. Wow. 

I guess now that Jay Leno has retired, or forced off "The Tonight Show,"  NBC is already erasing his name off the side of the building where they taped the show.

How I love me some TMZ in the morning.

On a sad note, I ran across an interesting article about Leonard Nimoy, an article unfortunately I can relate to, you may also.

According to CNN, the famous actor known for his work in Star Trek, announced last week he was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), after giving up smoking some thirty years ago. On Friday Nimoy sent out a few tweets  to his fans, "I'm doing OK," he tweeted "Just can't walk distances. Love my life, family, friends and followers."

COPD 

I was diagnosed in 2006 with COPD, after smoking for 25 years. Yep, I quit, but only recently. The reality of the article hit too close to home, like most people with COPD, I wonder to what degree the disease will progress overtime.

COPD And HCV

Seven years earlier I was diagnosed with hepatitis C, in less then twelve months I went on to treat the virus successfully. I clearly remember a few bothersome and at times frightening side-effects related to my breathing; waking up in the middle of the night gasping for air, shortness of breath while climbing stairs, and that horrible continuous coughing.  Some people treating with interferon and ribavirin experience the same side-effects. However, after learning of my COPD diagnosis, for the most part, I assume my side-effects were possibly more severe due to early COPD. An important point to remember for anyone considering treatment who has a long history of smoking.

To date there have been relatively few studies that have investigated a correlation between the hepatitis C virus and COPD. A study in 2010; Prevalence of hepatitis C virus infection in patients with COPD., published in the journal Epidemiology and Infection, set out to determine the prevalence of HCV infection in a sample of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients and in a control group of blood donors. The data relieved a significantly greater likelihood of HCV in those with COPD than the general blood donation population, additionally, patients with COPD had more severe lung disease when they also were infected with Hepatitis C.

Obstructive Lung Disease (OLD)
 
A study entitled; Hepatitis C virus infection is not an independent risk factor for obstructive lung disease, published in the February 2014 issue; COPD: Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, reported:
In summary, there was no independent association between markers of HCV exposure, chronicity, viremia, or HCV-associated end-organ damage with OLD. Our findings support the strong correlation between HCV status, injection drug use, and smoking. These data suggest that HCV may not be a sole contributor to the increased prevalence of OLD described in previous studies of HCV-infected individuals.

More than 2 million U.S. baby boomers are infected with hepatitis C, which account for more than 75 percent of all American adults living with the virus. Many of these baby boomers living with hepatitis C are now approaching retirement age, with the oldest of the baby boomers reaching age 68 in 2014,  is COPD an additional disorder baby boomers need to be concerned about?

In theory, the two conditions may co-exist in people living with the virus, chronic hepatitis C infection might function as a trigger for inflammation in the lungs, by either initiating or exacerbating the development of COPD. This means that besides the liver, our lungs might be an additional location the hepatitis C virus infiltrates. Research has suggested the direct effects of HCV on the lung may worsen lung function in some patients with preexisting asthma and/or COPD, according to a 2005 article from: Chest

Recent statistics coming out of Canada has shown a large number of younger baby boomers suffer from COPD. For instance a 2013 research project, entitled Clinical Implementation and Outcomes Evaluation of Blood-Based Biomarkers for COPD Management, reported the disease is especially prevalent among younger Canadian baby boomers – one in seven Canadians aged 45 to 49 (375,000) may have COPD.

At the other end of the spectrum, a recent study; "The Status of Baby Boomers' Health in the United States: The Healthiest Generation?" in JAMA Internal Medicine, published online Feb. 4, 2013, had some good and bad news for baby boomers. The good news is baby boomers are living longer, the bad news is they are not healthier.  While the boomers were less likely to smoke, have emphysema, or a heart attack, they are more likely to be obese, have diabetes, or high blood pressure than the previous generation at similar ages. However, it's generally accepted that people with hepatitis C are known to smoke, or have smoked more then people without the disease - food for thought. 

COPD Uncovered

COPD Uncovered represents the combined efforts of a multidisciplinary committee of international experts, coming together to explore some of the most important issues in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) today. Our aim is to highlight the impact of COPD on active, productive individuals aged from 40–65 years – a population that has been little studied until now, and as a resultis poorly understood.


...26% of people aged between 45 and 67 who were not in work gave up working because of COPD

In 2009, the initial COPD Uncovered report highlighted the serious issues faced by many nations as a result of COPD in the working age population, and raised key questions requiring further evidence and investigation of the disease.

The 2011 COPD Uncovered manuscript, published in the BMC Public Health open access journal, reported findings that significantly advanced our understanding of COPD. The new data included results from an international quantitative survey of more than 2,400 patients with COPD aged 45–67 in six countries, showing the enormous and wide-ranging economic impact of COPD in this group.

This evidence reinforces the original call to action to prioritize the proactive management and early diagnosis of COPD and focuses attention on the benefits of sustaining an active and productive patient population.

Do you have COPD?

If you are over forty and a current or former smoker, visit your doctor if you can answer yes to any of the following questions.

Do you cough regularly?
Do you cough up phlegm regularly?
Do even simple chores make you short of breath?
Do you wheeze when you exert yourself, or at night?
Do you get frequent colds that persist longer than those of other people you know?


Patients with COPD call in sharing their stories 

I leave you with a NPR 2013 broadcast; Fighting To Breathe: Living With COPD, with Grace Anne Dorney Koppel,COPD sufferer and national spokesperson and Dr. Enid Neptune,lung specialist and researcher at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Patients with COPD call in sharing their stories.



Enjoy your family and friends this weekend.
Always Tina

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