Popcorn lung is a nickname given to the chronic lung disease named bronchiolitis obliterans. This condition causes the small airways in your lungs called bronchioles to become inflamed. If this inflammation becomes chronic, then the bronchioles become scarred and narrow, and this can make it much more difficult to breathe.
What Causes Popcorn Lung?
There are many ways that people can get popcorn lung, but one of the most common ways is by the long-term inhalation of harmful chemicals. One of the first chemicals recognized as a cause of this chronic lung condition was diacetyl.
Diacetyl was used as a flavoring agent in several brands of microwave popcorn, although it no longer is in most of these products today. Workers responsible for packaging the contents of the popcorn bag were one of the first groups known to experience many cases of popcorn lung, which is how the disease came to have the nickname. Unfortunately, diacetyl is still around today, and one of its main uses is as a flavoring in many types of e-cigarette liquids.
In addition to diacetyl, the long-term inhaling of other chemical fumes can also lead to popcorn lung, including fumes from:
- Acetaldehyde, which is found in many e-cigarette liquids
- Metal oxide, which is a byproduct of welding
- Formaldehyde, which is used in some glues and building materials
- Sulfur dioxide, which is a pollutant from the burning of fossil fuels
- Nitrogen oxides
- Hydrochloric acid
- Sulfur mustard, which is also known as mustard gas
Lung Health Institute Can Help You Find Ways to Treat Chronic Lung Diseases
At Lung Health Institute, our health care team has developed several treatment options for chronic lung diseases like popcorn lung and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
For instance, we have a natural and minimally invasive treatment called cellular therapy. Cellular therapy is a procedure that uses concentrated platelets and cells from your body to target chronic lung diseases. These platelets release healing properties that, when combined with proteins, growth factors and other helpful cells, may help promote healing in damaged tissue and reduce inﬂammation in your lungs.
Find out more about what Lung Health Institute can do for you by taking the first step. Contact a patient coordinator at Lung Health Institute today for more information or to schedule a free consultation.