Popcorn lung is a medical situation that damages the bronchioles in your lungs. Since there isn’t a treatment for this situation, it’s best to know every little thing about it to scale back your danger of getting it.

Bronchiolitis obliterans or obliterative bronchiolitis, typically often called popcorn lungs, is a extreme however uncommon situation. Its identify could not sound like a risk to you, however this situation could trigger irreversible harm to your lungs. Whereas in a roundabout way linked to the consumption of popcorn, it’s related to publicity to particular chemical compounds, significantly diacetyl, a flavouring agent present in sure meals gadgets reminiscent of microwave popcorn. Vaping or use of e-cigarettes may be a danger issue. On this situation, scarring could happen within the lung airways, which may pose a danger for varied severe ailments.

What causes popcorn lungs?

Bronchiolitis obliterans, generally often called popcorn lung, isn’t contagious, which means it may well’t be transmitted from one individual to a different. It’s primarily brought on by publicity to diacetyl, a chemical present in butter-flavoured merchandise like microwave popcorn.

“Extended inhalation of diacetyl can inflame and scar the small airways of the lung, resulting in signs like coughing and shortness of breath. It damages lung tissues, impairing regular operate. Employees in industries utilizing diacetyl, reminiscent of popcorn factories, face heightened dangers of creating this situation,” says pulmonologist Dr Sanggita Checker.

Though diacetyl is not utilized in popcorn manufacturing to safeguard employees’ well being, it stays in use in varied different sectors. Regardless of its affiliation with popcorn lung illness, diacetyl is included within the liquid utilised in sure flavoured e-cigarettes. Vaping entails heating a liquid and inhaling the aerosol into the lungs. Actually, researchers at Harvard discovered that 39 of 51 e-cigarette manufacturers contained diacetyl.

Popcorn lung is a situation that may harm your lungs. Picture courtesy: Adobe Inventory

One other prevalent issue is acetaldehyde, current within the smoke of marijuana and sure digital cigarettes, which may hurt the liner of the mouth, throat, and abdomen. Moreover, varied different chemical compounds, reminiscent of chlorine, ammonia, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, fumes from welding, formaldehyde, phosgene, mustard gasoline, and so forth., may additionally contribute to popcorn lung when inhaled.

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Who’s in danger for creating popcorn lung?

Sure well being situations which can be linked to the elevated danger of popcorn lung embrace:

  • Respiratory diseases reminiscent of pneumonia or bronchitis.
  • Viral infections reminiscent of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).
  • Collagen vascular ailments.
  • Drug reactions.
  • Irritation and scarring from a lung transplant.
  • Autoimmune ailments reminiscent of rheumatoid arthritis.

Signs of popcorn lungs

Bronchiolitis obliterans causes the smallest airways in your lungs (referred to as bronchioles) to turn out to be irreversibly infected and scarred. This can lead to a number of signs, reminiscent of:

  • Persistent cough: A persistent cough that doesn’t enhance with common therapies might be an indication of bronchiolitis obliterans.
  • Shortness of breath: The gradual onset of breathlessness, particularly throughout bodily exercise, could point out lung points.
  • Wheezing: Unexplained wheezing or whistling sounds whereas respiratory could also be a symptom of airway narrowing.
  • Fatigue: Feeling excessively drained or weak, even with enough relaxation, may be related to compromised lung operate.
  • Chest discomfort: Some folks expertise chest ache or discomfort because the lungs are affected.

Additionally learn: Will your lungs heal after you give up smoking?

How does vaping improve the danger of popcorn lung?

The American Lung Affiliation has referred to as popcorn lung a harmful danger of flavoured e-cigarettes. Whereas quite a few research have demonstrated the antagonistic results of e-cigarettes, a 2015 examine within the Journal Environmental Well being Views revealed the presence of dangerous chemical compounds linked to popcorn lung in varied flavoured e-cigarettes, particularly these with fruity and sweet flavours which will enchantment to younger people who smoke. This may trigger extreme harm to your lungs.

effects of vaping
Vaping just isn’t protected on your well being! Picture courtesy: Adobe Inventory

How is popcorn lung handled?

Popcorn lungs can’t be cured. The remedy is out there to decelerate its development and ease signs.

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  • If the situation is linked to occupational publicity, avoiding dangerous substances is essential.
  • Bronchodilators and corticosteroids could also be prescribed by your physician to handle signs and cut back irritation.
  • In superior circumstances, offering further oxygen can alleviate respiratory difficulties.
  • Quitting smoking and sustaining a wholesome life-style can enhance general lung well being.
  • In extreme circumstances, when conservative measures fail, a lung transplant could also be thought of.

Since popcorn causes long-lasting harm, early detection and immediate intervention are important in managing the situation.