Comedian Bernie Mac has died according to his publicist. He was 50.
Mac's publicist Danica Smith said Mac died early Saturday morning from complications related to pneumonia. This same publicist denied Mac's pneumonia was related to Mac's chronic disease, sarcoidosis, which Smith claimed was in remission since 2005.
But what else could have caused Mac's pneumonia considering his past medical history?
As I explained in my earlier post (in layman's terms), sarcoidosis is an immune disorder that turns the body's cells against itself. It occurs mainly in the lungs and lymph nodes (such as in your armpits, chest, neck and groin) but it can also occur anywhere in the body such as your skin, liver and other body organs.
When sarcoidosis involves the skin, it causes tiny red bumps (granulomas) to develop. Inside the lungs, the bumps cause respiratory problems by clumping together, causing scarring and making it extremely difficult to breathe. Some patients with advanced sarcoidosis go on a ventilator.
Doctors don't know what causes sarcoidosis - other than it is an extreme autoimmune response to something external in the environment (such as poison, infection or other diseases) which leads the body's cells to replicate out of control.
In 60 to 70 percent of cases, symptoms will be vague or non-existent and most people won't know they have the disease. But if the disease involves the lungs, such as in Mac's case, the condition is more severe. Black people tend to develop the more severe form of sarcoidosis. There is no known cure.
Symptoms of lung involvement include:
- * Shortness of breath (dyspnea)
* Breathing difficulty
* Persistent productive cough
* Chest pain
* Chest tightness
* fatigue (feeling tired all the time)
* night sweats