Bernie Mac’s Mysterious Disease:Bernie Mac, whose actual name was Bernard Jeffrey McCullough, died of pneumonia-related complications on August 9, 2008. He was relatively youthful for his age, being only 50
However, it would be inaccurate to attribute Bernie Mac’s mortality to pneumonia alone. Despite the remission of his sarcoidosis, a chronic inflammatory lung condition, McCullough’s immune system had been compromised for decades.
Bernie Mac spent his final days in the ICU, attached to a ventilator and fighting for his life. Surrounded by his loved ones, the Ocean’s Eleven actor fought for over two weeks before succumbing to his illness.
𝗥𝗲𝗺𝗲𝗺𝗯𝗲𝗿𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗕𝗲𝗿𝗻𝗶𝗲 𝗠𝗮𝗰: 𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗖𝗼𝗺𝗲𝗱𝘆 𝗟𝗲𝗴𝗲𝗻𝗱 𝗪𝗵𝗼 𝗠𝗮𝗱𝗲 𝗨𝘀 𝗟𝗮𝘂𝗴𝗵 𝗔𝗻𝗱 𝗖𝗿𝘆
Today marks the 15th anniversary of the death of one of the greatest comedians of all time, Bernie Mac. He was a legend in the comedy world, who left behind… pic.twitter.com/HVrqrSq9J4
— 𝗖𝗖𝗖 (@checkthreetimes) August 9, 2023
Bernie Mac was a well-known comedian, actor, and family man. Few of his contemporaries could match the legacy of sincere comedy he left behind.
Bernie Mac’s Mysterious Disease
Bernie Mac was diagnosed with sarcoidosis in 1983, just as his career was beginning to take off, the same year that football Hall of Famer Reggie White died of the disease. Although pneumonia is listed as the cause of death on Mac’s death certificate, sarcoidosis could have been a contributing factor.
However, what is sarcoidosis precisely? Breathlessness and dry cough are common symptoms of the disease, which is caused by lung inflammation that limits lung capacity.
The condition affects nearly a million people worldwide, but it manifests itself variably among individuals of various cultures. For example, eighty to ninety percent of Caucasians who contract sarcoidosis will recover completely without any treatment. However, the condition is often much more severe in African Americans, necessitating extended courses of treatment and often more hospital stays.
In addition, doctors have a limited understanding of the causes of this inflammation, other than the fact that it manifests predominantly in the lungs. However, sarcoidosis is not restricted to the lungs alone; it can extend to the skin, eyes, heart, brain, and even the bones.
A prevalent symptom of sarcoidosis is shortness of breath during vigorous exercise, but the disease can progress to make even light exertion, such as walking a few blocks or doing chores, difficult.
The cutaneous lesions caused by sarcoidosis cannot be healed. Possible complications of sarcoidosis of the eye include vision loss and even blindness. Abnormal liver function is characteristic of liver sarcoidosis. Depending on the specific condition, other organs may be affected as well. Typically, lung function is impaired, but other organs may be affected as well.
This was the case with the late comedian Bernie Mac, who spent a quarter of his life (25 years) coping with the pulmonary effects of sarcoidosis. Even though the disease went into remission in 2005, the long-term injury to his lungs may have played a significant role in how the pneumonia affected him
What is sarcoidosis specifically?
A pulmonary condition marked by inflammation. It is unknown what causes this inflammation, but it typically begins in the airways. However, sarcoidosis can also manifest in the epidermis, eyes, heart, brain, and bones in addition to the lungs.
After experiencing symptoms such as shortness of breath or a dry cough, or after having an abnormal chest X-ray taken for another cause, the majority of people with sarcoidosis visit a doctor. A prevalent anomaly caused by sarcoidosis is an increase in gland size and scar tissue in the lungs.
What symptoms should be anticipated as the condition worsens?
Initially, it could be as straightforward as experiencing shortness of breath during a vigorous activity such as tennis. In the future, you may experience difficulty breathing after a brief distance of walking. Later, you may have difficulty breathing even when performing basic household tasks.
The same applies to the cough, provided that it is not severe. Therefore, this is evidence of pulmonary disease. Sarcoidosis of the skin is characterised by the development of lesions… There is a possibility that they will worsen over time. Sarcoidosis of the eye is characterised by vision loss, redness, and discomfort in the eyes.
In the absence of treatment, complications such as blindness or glaucoma are a possibility. Sarcoidosis may cause liver dysfunction if it affects the organ. Consequently, the disease’s symptoms differ according to the organ affected. Nonetheless, the overwhelming majority of them have lung disease.
Was Bernie Mac’s Death caused by sarcoidosis?
Bernie Mac suffered from severe sarcoidosis. His lung condition has also affected his epidermis. Then he contracted pneumonia and was transferred to a Chicago hospital. I believe that his medication stabilised his sarcoidosis, allowing him to return to work.
Consequently, I do not believe it caused too many problems. It’s conceivable that the medication he was taking weakened his immune system, leaving him susceptible to the infections that led to his death from pneumonia. I have no notion, as I am in Los Angeles and he was in Chicago.
What treatments are available for sarcoidosis?
Sarcoidosis is presently incurable because its underlying cause is unknown. For instance, tuberculosis has a treatment because its bacterial cause has been identified and multiple medications exist to eradicate it.
The conventional treatment for sarcoidosis is steroids and corticosteroids such as prednisone. Immunosuppressants are also administered to some patients. All of them serve the same purpose, which is to reduce inflammation. By inhibiting their development, they delay the transformation of granulomas into scar tissue. The treatment is not effective for all patients
In some instances, even after twenty or thirty years of treatment with prednisone and other steroids, the patient’s chronic illness remains manageable. After discontinuing treatment, symptoms reappear. Depending on a person’s genetic composition, the severity of this condition can range from mild to fatal. It is more prevalent among people of African descent.
How Does Inflammation At The Site Of Sarcoidosis Present Itself? Which Cells, if Any, Are Involved?
A biopsy is performed on the swollen glands in the airways. These glands contain granulomas, which are collections of inflammatory cells such as lymphocytes, giant cells, and macrophages.
They were likely lured there in order to eradicate whatever attracted them. Since we cannot determine what causes sarcoidosis, we cannot treat it.