Smoking gives Star Trek star Leonard Nimoy lung disease COPD
7th February 2014
COPDLeonard Nimoy has revealed he is suffering with lung disease. The 82-year-old shot to fame as Mr Spock in the original Star Trek series (1966-1969), before reprising the character in multiple television series and films and even turned his hand to directing for the films Search for Spock and Voyage Home. The actor revealed to his 808,000 Twitter followers that even though he quit smoking 30 years ago, he has been left to fight the potentially fatal lung disease chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Nimoy warned his thousands of followers to “quit now” before it is too late. He warned: “I quit smoking 30 years ago. Not soon enough. I have COPD. Grandpa says, quit now!! LLAP [Long Live and Prosper].” Viewers last saw Nimoy on screen as Mr Spock in the 2013 film Star Trek Into Darkness, playing the elder Spock and is the only member of the original cast to feature in the latest films from director JJ Abrams. He sparked fears for his health after being pictured last month looking frail whilst pushed out of a New York hospital in a wheelchair, attached to a breathing apparatus. Nimoy retired from attending Star Trek conventions back in 2011 but still engages with his fans on a regular basis, recently urging them to watch a scheduled marathon of Star Trek shows being shown on US television. Leonard said: “Trek Fest coming to EPIX on 2/16. I'll be there. Join me.” You may be wondering what exactly the condition is that Nimoy has. COPD is an umbrella term that spans a number of lung conditions such as chronic bronchitis, chronic obstructive airways disease and emphysema. People who have COPD have difficulties with their breathing due to their airways becoming narrower from damage to air sacs and passages to the lungs. The primary cause for COPD is smoking, with the risk greatly increasing the more cigarettes you smoke and how long you have been smoking for. It is believed there are more than 3 million who have the disease in the UK alone, but many dismiss their symptoms as merely a ‘smoker’s cough’ and as such, do not get medical help they need; only around 900,000 people have been formally diagnosed. For those already diagnosed with COPD, stopping smoking is absolutely imperative and will ease their symptoms considerably. Although damage to the airways is irreversible, quitting smoking can slow down the speed at which the condition worsens. In addition, many with COPD are prescribed a short-acting bronchodilator inhaler such as a beta-2 agonist like salbutamol, to be used when you start to feel breathless and easing the symptoms. If this type of inhaler is not sufficient, you may be instead prescribed a long-acting bronchodilator inhaler, whereby each dose lasts for 12 hours.