What Are the Symptoms of Popcorn Lung?
Popcorn lung is a serious lung injury you can face from many potential causes, but today it is most commonly associated with vaping. Vaping and e-cigarette injuries and lung infections are increasingly common to hear about in the news, but if one of these injuries happens to you, you could face serious pain and suffering that might entitle you to file a lawsuit. Our JUUL and e-cigarette injury attorneys at the Reiff Law Firm explain some of the symptoms of popcorn lung and how to keep an eye out for this kind of injury for yourself or loved ones.
What is Popcorn Lung?
Popcorn lung is a lung injury known in medical terms as “bronchiolitis obliterans.” Bronchioles are the tiny tubes that spread out across your lungs to deliver air to the parts of your lungs that absorb oxygen. When these tubes get injured, they can swell from inflammation, blocking air from getting into your lungs.
While the name “popcorn lung” evokes images of your lungs bursting like popcorn kernels or looking like mottled popcorn ceilings, the name “popcorn lung” actually comes from another common cause of popcorn lung. Microwave popcorn has flavorings added to it that steam and evaporate. Many people who work in popcorn production breathe in these vapors and sustain injuries to their lungs and airways, resulting in “popcorn lung.” Vaping can produce similar effects, as chemicals in “vape juice” or “e-juice” could burn or inflame the pathways in your lungs, causing bronchiolitis obliterans.
This injury is usually caused specifically by a certain chemical: diacetyl. This chemical is an ingredient in some popcorn butters, but it is also found in vapes as well as traditional cigarettes, as it is a common flavoring chemical. Popcorn lung can also be caused by other chemicals and injuries, such as lung infections or injuries from inhaling toxic smoke.
What Does Popcorn Lung Do to Your Lungs?
Popcorn lung is caused by inflammation of the bronchioles in your lungs. When a part of your body is injured, it can get inflamed, turn red, and swell up. Similar things happen to your bronchioles, but that swelling can cause them to close shut and stop air from getting through. This obstruction is the primary cause of serious problems associated with popcorn lung.
In the early stages, popcorn lung usually results in coughing, shortness of breath, and wheezing. Along with this, you might feel tired because less oxygen is getting through. Symptoms can get worse over time, even if you are no longer exposed to the cause of the popcorn lung. Your pathways in your lungs can continue to get more inflamed and close up more – and continually struggling to breathe can begin to compound and have the effects get worse.
Many of these effects are similar to bronchitis (inflammation of one of the bigger tubes in your lungs) or pneumonia (a lung infection that can range in severity). It may be difficult to tell the difference between a simple cough, bronchitis, pneumonia, another lung infection, or popcorn lung. You should always consult a doctor if you think anything is wrong with your breathing, especially if you’re a smoker or you frequently use vape or e-cigarette products
After the initial injury sets in, the bronchioles often develop scar tissue and stay closed. This means that popcorn lung is often permanent, and victims of popcorn lung may not see improvement. Even if you stop vaping, you could still get worse.
Ultimately, you could face weight loss, fevers, and other surprising results as advanced symptoms. While symptoms often get worse gradually, these side effects can also progress suddenly.
How is Popcorn Lung Treated?
A doctor will first need to confirm whether or not you have popcorn lung. There are many tests a doctor can run to test your breathing and lung capacity, and they may run a few of these tests. They will probably also take a chest X-ray to look for signs of scarring or occlusion in your lungs’ pathways. Once you are diagnosed with popcorn lung, the treatment can begin in earnest.
Sometimes medication can be used to decrease the inflammation. Anti-inflammatories and pain medication can help reduce the swelling, as can steroids, which might help alleviate symptoms and prevent additional scarring. In some cases, however, you may need to go on oxygen to get more oxygen into your body through the remaining pathways. In some cases, the injuries might be so severe that you need a lung transplant to be able to breathe properly again.
Suing for Popcorn Lung from JUUL and E-Cigarette Use
As vaping becomes more popular and the effects of it are more fully understood, the risks become more and more clear. Many people diagnosed with popcorn lung and other lung injuries and infections can point to e-cigarettes and vapes like JUUL as the main cause of their injuries. In some cases, these companies fail to label their products and give users information about the risks of these products. Lawsuits can often be filed against these companies on the basis of this failure to warn or because of dangerous or defective products. Other injury victims have also filed lawsuits for exploding vape pens and other product injuries. Talk to a lawyer for suing for popcorn lung and other injuries caused by vaping.
Call Our Vape and JUUL Injury Attorneys for a Free Legal Consultation
If you or a loved one developed popcorn lung from vaping, you may be entitled to sue the manufacturer for the injuries you sustained. Our Philadelphia injury lawyers might be able to help you get compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering caused by vaping injuries. To get help with your potential popcorn lung, call a doctor – then contact our law offices for a free legal consultation on your case. Our phone number is (215) 246-9000.