Popcorn lung is often misdiagnosed as asthma, bronchitis, or emphysema

An irreversible lung disease Obliterative bronchiolitis has no cure but only treatments that help relieve symptoms or slow the progression of the disease. The patient experiences coughing and shortness of breath as the disease slowly damages the airways of the lungs.

There are treatment options that include taking prescription corticosteroids, cough suppressants, bronchodilators to open the airways. Immunosuppressive therapy is recommended for some patients to decrease the body’s immune response. If symptoms are severe, supplemental oxygen may be needed. When the disease is not treated, it can be fatal.

According to The Law Center, the development of this Juul-associated popcorn lung disease can be prevented by avoiding exposure to harmful chemicals such as diacetyl, which are found abundantly in e-cigarettes. This lung condition is called popcorn lungs, since the chemical diacetyl is a buttery-flavored chemical commonly found in microwave popcorn.

Popcorn companies say they no longer use the ingredient in their product. But diacetyl is found in 75 percent of flavored e-cigarettes and refill liquids. It can also affect people who do not smoke but are exposed to it through the vapor of e-cigarettes.

Blood absorbs oxygen and then carries it to cells in the rest of the body through tiny air sacs called alveoli. The alveoli can become irritated or scarred from exposure to diacetyl. This causes more inflammation in the lungs and makes it difficult for the blood to supply oxygen.

Symptoms appear in the body 2 weeks to 2 months after being exposed to toxic gases or after the body has had an illness. Apart from the 2 main symptoms, patients experience fever, unexplained fatigue, weight loss, wheezing. If symptoms flare up after any chemical exposure, one may experience irritation to the eyes, skin, mouth, or nose. The doctor orders an X-ray, CT scan, or surgical lung biopsy to diagnose the disease.

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