Tony Curtis health: Legendary actor’s ‘heart was ready to go’ after history of lung issues

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At his Henderson home, in Nevada Las Vegas, Tony Curtis died from a cardiac arrest at the age of 85. His widow, Jill, said: “His heart survived many things that would have killed an ordinary man. This time his heart was ready to go.” Jill elaborated: “He had COPD [chronic obstructive pulmonary disease] and very bad lung problems from smoking.

“About 30 years ago, he quit. But his lungs never worked the way they should [have]. So he was always fighting that.”

Jill told Inside Edition: “He died peacefully surrounded by those who loved him… in his bedroom where he loved to be.

“I’m very happy we made the decision to bring him home from the hospital. He passed in his sleep.”

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, the NHS explained, encapsulates a group of lung conditions that cause breathing difficulties.

Examples include emphysema (damage to the air sacs in the lungs) and chronic bronchitis (long-term inflammation of the airways).

“COPD is a common condition that mainly affects middle-aged or older adults who smoke,” the health body noted. “Many people do not realise they have it.

“The breathing problems tend to get gradually worse over time and can limit your normal activities.”

There are four main symptoms of COPD, which are:

  1. Increasing breathlessness, particularly when you’re active
  2. A persistent chesty cough with phlegm – some people may dismiss this as just a “smoker’s cough”
  3. Frequent chest infections
  4. Persistent wheezing.

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Periods where symptoms worsen are known as “flare-ups”, although the condition typically gets worse over time.

“See a GP if you have persistent symptoms of COPD, particularly if you’re over 35 and smoke or used to smoke,” the NHS instructed.

Diagnostic tools might include blood tests, a chest X-ray, and a spirometry test.

A spirometry test measures how well the lungs are working; the test requires breathing into a machine.

Symptoms caused by COPD would benefit from treatment, before the lungs become significantly damaged.

Treatment is useful in slowing down the progression of the disease; for example, inhalers and medicines can help to make breathing easier.

Pulmonary rehabilitation is a specialised programme of exercise and education used to treat COPD.

And surgery or a lung transplant might be considered for a small number of people.

If you have COPD, one of the most important things you can do for your health is to stop smoking.

The NHS offers local Stop Smoking Services where you can seek support to give up the unhealthy habit.

As well as seeking treatment and support, exercising regularly can help to improve symptoms and improve your quality of life.

Tony Curtis stars in Some Like It Hot, BBC Two at 1.15pm.

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