Sunday, June 28, 2009

Michael Jackson may have died from lung disorder

By Theresa Tanoos

The author of a biography on Michael Jackson said that the superstar had a potentially fatal lung condition, which left him in desperate need of an emergency transplant operation to save his life. According to Ian Halperin, who completed a book about Jackson’s life late last year, the pop icon suffered from an Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, as well as emphysema and gastrointestinal bleeding.

“He’s had it for years, but it’s gotten worse,” Halperin told In Touch magazine. “He needs a lung transplant, but may be too weak to go through with it.” Halperin also said that the gastrointestinal bleeding was the most problematic part for Jackson, “It could kill him.”

Earlier this year, Jackson was photographed in a wheelchair. Just a few weeks ago, he was seen wearing a mask while receiving walking assistance.

Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency is a rare genetic disorder that results in a low level of alpha-1 antitrypsin protein in the blood. The protein acts as a protective shield to block destructive enzymes from essentially chewing up and destroying lung tissue when there is no protective shield. Such destruction is also called emphysema. It is estimated that only 1 in 5,000 to 1 in 10,000 people have this deficiency in the U.S.

The most common symptom of the deficiency is shortness of breath upon exertion. Activities that used to be easy to perform become more difficult, such as walking up a flight of stairs or exercising. This disease can be devastating and is frequently misdiagnosed as Asthma. In severe cases, patients are unable to perform even routine daily activities like getting dressed or taking a shower. Less severe cases involve not being able to run marathons anymore. It all depends on the level of the deficiency and shortness of breath.

In the case of Michael Jackson and other high-level performers, an Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency could significantly affect wind power, which is important for sustaining energy while singing and dancing.

For more info go to Fox News.

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