The medical condition is also known as bronchitis obliterans. According to medical professionals, it is caused by diacetyl. Traditionally, some companies used the chemical’s butter flavoring was used in making popcorn. After some time, the chemical started making employees in popcorn factories sick after breathing it in.
As a result, it was removed from items manufactured by popcorn companies. According to some researchers, it is also causes deaths and many cases of popcorn lung. When a doctor diagnoses you with the disease, it means there is a scarring of the tiny air sacs in your lungs. This leads to the thickening and narrowing of the airways.
According to the specialist from the Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center, there is no cure for the disease at the moment. Diacetyl is common in most vaping juices. Vaping refers to the process of heating liquids such as nicotine inside an e-cig to form a vapor, which users breathe in and out. One study involved testing 51 e-cig liquids. The researchers found out that 39 of them had the chemical.
Also, they discovered that 47 of the 51 samples had more than one flavoring chemical. This is a worrying discovery considering there is an increasing amount of evidence showing that the chemical is extremely dangerous. Because of the association between diacetyl, the medical condition, and other related diseases among workers in such facilities, the scientists recommended further evaluation of the increased exposure due to the popularity of e-cigarettes.
The researchers noted that many people tend to focus on side effects such as addiction when evaluating the dangers of using e-cigarettes. They urged individuals to remember that the devices can also cause severe damage to the lungs. In some cases, this can be fatal. Therefore, if you are not scared of lung damage of pneumonia, remember popcorn lung is a life-threatening complication.
When you inhale diacetyl, you can notice the signs of the disease in two to eight weeks. Its symptoms are similar to those of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Usually, the signs occur regularly. Here are some of the most common symptoms:
- Weight loss
- Extreme fatigue
- Eye, skin, and nose irritation
If the symptoms worsen, you should visit a medical professional as soon as possible. Seek immediate medical attention if you experience the following symptoms:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Breathing difficulties
How Is the Disease Diagnosed and Treated?
A doctor can diagnose the medical condition through several procedures. Like many diseases, the first step when diagnosing the popcorn lung, is going through your medical history and find the possible connections with the chemicals that may cause the disease. Next, they will perform tests such as X-rays and CT Scans.
By doing this, a medical practitioner can rule out any other possible causes. Additionally, a doctor may recommend a lung tissue biopsy to determine whether there is a contaminated or inflamed tissue. Treatment is only done to treat the symptoms and not cure the overall condition. The treatment options available can only slow down the progression of the disease.
A doctor can recommend medications such as cough suppressants and inhalers. In some cases, you may also need to go for immunosuppressive therapy or oxygen therapy. If you don’t seek treatment at the right time, the disease may prove fatal with time. Although doctors recommend lung transplants, it is not a cure.
There have been many reports of recurrence after lung transplants. If you experience the popcorn lung symptoms due to your work, you should consider hiring a personal injury attorney to help you get compensation.