Navigation Links
Young Pop Star's Emphysema Startles Experts

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 even smoke anymore, let alone that other thing. With patience, her lungs will recover completely. She's responding very well to treatment, she's flourishing," he said.

The singer's U.S. publicist, Tracey Miller, agreed, saying on Monday that Winehouse is "showing early signs of what could lead to emphysema but is reacting well to treatment."

What is well-known is that Winehouse has a long history of drug abuse, including crack cocaine.

According to Horovitz, smoking crack can also result in a condition known as "acute crack lung," which shows up from one hour to 48 hours after smoking large quantities of crack. "It's temporary, but it can cause a certain amount of destruction of the lung tissue. But if you have enough [episodes], it adds up to a lot of lung disease," Horovitz explained.

Emphysema involves damage to the air sacs or alveoli in the lungs, reducing the amount of oxygen the body can take in. Symptoms typically include shortness of breath and a chronic cough, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health. The most common cause is smoking. The disease, once entrenched, cannot be reversed. The condition can be stabilized, however, if a person stops smoking.

Still, "lung units or alveoli do not come back," Horovitz said.

Symptoms can be treated with bronchodilators, steroids, inhalers and, in a worst-case scenario, oxygen, Horovitz added.

According to AP, Winehouse's lung capacity is at 70 percent. Physicians generally conduct pulmonary function tests by taking into account height, weight, ethnic group and smoking history. They then calculate a predicted lung function.

Healthy lung function for a person with Winehouse's demographic would probably hover around 80 percent or more, Horovitz said.

"This is not moderate or severe emphysema. It's mild emphysema," Horovitz stressed. "But with the natural aging process, when you're 54, you're going to have moderate to severe emphysema."

The singer's career and young life have been marked by both highs and lows. Her 2006 album, Back to Black won five Grammy awards, including Best New Artist, Record of the Year and Song of the Year. But her alcohol and drug dependencies have been widely reported.

According to MTV News, Mitch Winehouse told the BBC that she is currently "smothered" in nicotine patches to help her kick the smoking habit.

Winehouse understands that "the only thing that can go into her lungs right now is fresh air," her father said. "She doesn't have emphysema, she has traces of it. Obviously, if she doesn't quit smoking, it's going to get worse."

More information

Visit the American Lung Association for more on emphysema.

SOURCES: Len Horovitz, M.D., pulmonary specialist, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City; Norman Edelman, M.D., chief medical officer, American Lung Association; Associated Press; MTV News

Copyright©2008 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Younger Patients Seeking More Aesthetic Treatments
2. 6th Annual Young-Onset Parkinsons Network Conference
3. Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation awards $2.25M to 5 top young clinical investigators
4. Journal STEM CELLS Presents 3rd Annual Young Investigator Award at International Stem Cell Symposium
5. Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation awards prestigious fellowships to 14 top young investigators
6. Diabetes Drug May Prevent Early Puberty in Young Girls
7. Rutgers scientist receives prestigious Young Investigator Award
8. Mariner Zac Sunderland Sets Sail on Quest to Become the Youngest to Circumnavigate the Globe Solo
9. Managing symptoms by mobile phone may revolutionize cancer care for young people
10. Experts highlight gaps in knowledge on caring for survivors of teenage and young adult cancers
11. UNICEF & Merck Partner to Protect 100,000 Children and Young People Against Mumps Epidemic
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Young Pop Star's Emphysema Startles Experts
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... 2016 , ... As a lifelong Southern Californian, Dr. Omkar Marathe earned his ... David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. He trained in Internal Medicine at Scripps ... in hematology/oncology at the UCLA-Olive View-Cedars Sinai program where he had the opportunity to ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... On Friday, June 10, Van Mitchell, Secretary of ... award to iHire in recognition of their exemplary accomplishments in worksite health promotion. , ... Workplace Health & Wellness Symposium at the BWI Marriott in Linthicum Heights. iHire was ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... 24, 2016 , ... A recent article published June 14 on ... article goes on to state that individuals are now more comfortable seeking to undergo ... such as calf and cheek reduction. The Los Angeles area medical group, Beverly Hills ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... June 19, 2016 is World Sickle Cell Observance ... and the benefits of holistic treatments, Serenity Recovery Center of Marne, Michigan, ... Disease. , Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) is a disorder of the red blood cells, ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... June 24, 2016 , ... ... Conference and Scientific Sessions in Dallas that it will receive two significant new ... the grants came as PHA marked its 25th anniversary by recognizing patients, medical ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... June 23, 2016 Any dentist who has made ... the current process. Many of them do not even offer ... difficulties and high laboratory costs involved. And those who ARE ... at such a high cost that the majority of today,s ... Dr. Parsa Zadeh , founder of Dental Evolutions Inc. ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... a startling report released today, National Safety Council research ... proven plan to eliminate prescription opioid overdoses. Prescription Nation ... tackling the worst drug crisis in recorded U.S. history, assigned a ... , New Mexico , Tennessee ... failing states, three – Michigan , ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 2016 Research and Markets has announced ... Analysis 2016 - Forecast to 2022" report to their ... contains up to date financial data derived from varied research ... trends with potential impact on the market during the next ... which comprises of sub markets, regional and country level analysis. ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: