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Young Pop Star's Emphysema Startles Experts
Date:6/23/2008

But Amy Winehouse's reported diagnosis is a reminder of the damage drugs or cigarettes can do to lungs, they say

MONDAY, June 23 (HealthDay News) -- The shocking revelation by her father that 24-year-old British singer-songwriter Amy Winehouse may have a mild form of emphysema leaves experts with more questions than answers.

It's possible that Winehouse, in addition to her well-publicized use of drugs and cigarettes, has a congenital condition that contributed to her current crisis, one lung doctor said.

"If you see emphysema in a young person, you have to think of that," said Dr. Len Horovitz, a pulmonary specialist with Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.

Dr. Norman Edelman, chief medical officer of the American Lung Association, added, "Generally, we don't really see emphysema until a person is in their 40s, but in a small number of people it could occur much earlier, especially in someone who smoked a long time."

"There's also the possibility -- not a probability -- that she's got a genetic variation. Five percent of people with emphysema have a genetic predisposition," Edelman said.

According to the Associated Press, Winehouse apparently collapsed at her north London home last Monday and was admitted into a London hospital, where she has been all week.

Winehouse's father, Mitch Winehouse, told the London Sunday Mirror that his daughter was told she would have to wear an oxygen mask unless she stops smoking drugs and cigarettes.

However, he has since modified that statement. According to MTV News, Mitch Winehouse told BBC 1 Radio on Monday that his daughter fainted at her home on June 16 and has been diagnosed with what he called "a small amount of emphysema." The soul singer's lungs do show a small amount of scarring, but her illness has not progressed "too far," her father said.

"It's not irreparable. Really, she can't eve
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