Sir Sidney Poitier dies at the age of 94
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Born on February 20, 1927, Sidney Poitier was the first black American to win an Academy Award for best actor. Acclaimed for his portrayal of Homer Smith in the film Lilies Of The Field (1963), Poitier went on to star in In The Heat Of The Night (1967), and Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner (1967). On January 6, 2022, the father-of-six died from a combination of heart failure, Alzheimer’s dementia, and prostate cancer.
Aged 94, his older age put him at greater risk of disease, but what else could have contributed to his ill health?
The NHS explains: “Heart failure means that the heart is unable to pump blood around the body properly. It usually happens because the heart has become too weak or stiff.”
Symptoms of heart failure include:
- Breathlessness after activity or at rest
- Feeling tired most of the time and finding exercise exhausting
- Feeling lightheaded or fainting
- Swollen ankles and legs.
“Some people also experience other symptoms, such as a persistent cough, a fast heart rate and dizziness,” the NHS adds.
Heart failure is caused by a number of health conditions, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and issues with the heart valves.
Heart disease, for example, occurs when the arteries that supply blood to the heart become clogged up with fatty deposits.
This type of health condition is linked to a fatty diet and not exercising enough.
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The Alzheimer’s Association explained Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia that affects memory, thinking and behaviour.
Developing this condition in older age is not normal, the charity pointed out, adding that Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease.
Over time, the symptoms become severe enough to interfere with daily life, with many people losing the ability to converse and respond to their environment.
Symptoms of Alzheimer’s
- Difficulty completing familiar task, such as cooking a meal
- Confusion with time and place
- Issues with spatial awareness
- New problems with words in speaking or writing
- Misplacing items and losing the ability to retrace your steps
- Decreased or poor judgement
- Social withdrawal
- Changes in personality.
“On average, a person with Alzheimer’s lives four to eight years after diagnosis but can live as long as 20 years, depending on other factors,” the organisation stated.
A cancerous tumour within the prostate gland, which is the size of a walnut, typically grows ever so slowly.
The NHS points out that signs of the disease don’t show up until the tumour is large enough to be pressing against the urethra (the tube where urine passes from).
When this occurs, men might experience an increased need to urinate, straining while urinating, and a feeling that the bladder has not fully emptied.
These all could be a sign of an enlarged prostate, which naturally happens to men when growing older.
The symptoms should not be ignored, however, in case it is prostate cancer; this is why booking a doctor’s appointment is necessary.
Treatment for prostate cancer can include surgically removing the tumour and radiotherapy.
Sidney Poitier starred in Lilies Of The Field, which is showing on Saturday, October 22 on BBC Two at 2pm.
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