The best stories of the day, in your inbox

Popcorn Lung: What You Need to Know About This Serious Lung Disease

popcorn lung

While the name “popcorn lung” might sound harmless, the reality of bronchiolitis obliterans, the medical term for the condition, is far from it. This serious lung disease can significantly impact your breathing and quality of life. Let’s delve into what it is, its causes, and the signs and symptoms you should be aware of.

What is Popcorn Lung?

Popcorn lung, formally known as bronchiolitis obliterans, is a progressive lung disease that affects the smallest airways in your lungs, called bronchioles. These airways become inflamed and scarred, making it difficult to breathe. Over time, the scarring worsens, leading to permanent lung damage and potentially respiratory failure.

What Causes Popcorn Lung?

Several factors can cause popcorn lung, including:

  • Inhaling harmful chemicals: The most well-known cause is exposure to diacetyl, a flavoring agent used in some microwave popcorn and other processed foods. While diacetyl use has been greatly reduced, it’s not entirely eliminated.
  • Certain lung infections: Severe or recurrent infections can cause similar scarring in the airways.
  • Autoimmune diseases: Conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and scleroderma can sometimes lead to bronchiolitis obliterans.
  • Lung transplants: Rejection of a transplanted lung can sometimes trigger the development of bronchiolitis obliterans.

Signs and Symptoms to Watch Out For:

Early diagnosis and treatment are crucial for managing popcorn lung and preventing further damage. Be aware of these potential signs and symptoms:

  • Dry cough: This is often the first and most common symptom, and it can be persistent and unproductive (meaning no phlegm).
  • Shortness of breath: This can develop gradually or worsen with exertion.
  • Wheezing: A whistling sound during breathing can indicate narrowed airways.
  • Fatigue: Difficulty breathing can take a toll on your energy levels.
  • Clubbing of fingers and toes: In severe cases, the ends of your fingers and toes may enlarge.

If you experience any of these symptoms, especially after exposure to harmful chemicals or have a history of lung issues, it’s crucial to seek medical attention promptly. Early diagnosis and treatment can help manage the condition and improve your quality of life.


  • Popcorn lung is a serious and potentially life-threatening condition.
  • While diacetyl exposure is a known cause, other factors can contribute.
  • Early diagnosis and treatment are crucial.
  • Be aware of the signs and symptoms and seek medical attention if you experience them.

By understanding popcorn lung and its symptoms, you can take steps to protect yourself and seek timely medical help if needed.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice. Please consult a healthcare professional for diagnosis and treatment of any medical condition.

The Andhra Pradesh State Council of Higher Education (APSCHE) has

In a tragic incident, Malawi’s Vice President Saulos Chilima and

An advance security team accompanying Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren

Instant noodles are a college staple, a quick lunch option

Microsoft made waves during its annual Xbox Games Showcase, revealing

Fintech giant Paytm’s parent company, One97 Communications, is undergoing a

The Southwest monsoon has made a swift and steady advance

Indian Army has launched a search operation in Jammu’s Reasi

In a heart-wrenching incident, Yuvraj Goyal, a 28-year-old Indian-origin man,

Gear up for an epic journey! The highly anticipated action

Tensions rise on the Korean peninsula as North Korea resumes

Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), a global leader in IT services,

As the nation eagerly anticipates Narendra Modi’s third term oath-taking

Retired Major General William Anders, a distinguished astronaut and one

Cherukuri Ramoji Rao, the visionary entrepreneur behind Ramoji Film City

A tragic incident unfolded early this morning in the Narela

Telugu Desam Party (TDP) national president Nara Chandrababu Naidu is

Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) kicks off on June 10th,

Sony recently hosted its third State of Play showcase of

Oil Marketing Companies have announced a ₹69.50 reduction in the price of 19-kg commercial

OpenAI has recently introduced ChatGPT Edu, a specialized version of ChatGPT

At least four people have lost their lives, and thirteen

India has been grappling with a severe heatwave over the past

Get daily updates in your inbox. Subscribe to our newsletter.