What is Popcorn Lung?
Your lungs consist of thousands of tiny, branched tubes called bronchioles, that eventually lead to air sacs called alveoli. These structures play an essential role in oxygen transport and gas exchange. Oxygen goes into your bloodstream in the alveoli and carbon dioxide comes out. These delicate structures are sensitive to many things in the environment, including chemicals, temperatures, and humidity.
Contracting and expanding smooth muscles make up the bronchioles. And different environmental conditions can cause narrowing or widening of lung tissue. For example, suddenly breathing in cold air can cause the tubes to contract, and breathing in warm, moist air causes them to expand. People with allergic reactions or asthma often start wheezing when they’re exposed to allergens. That wheezing sound is the air whistling through narrowing bronchioles.
When people continually breathe in chemicals that irritate the lungs or develop an infection, the tubes first become inflamed. Inflammation causes swelling, narrowing of the tubes, and eventually, scarring. Less air travels through the lungs and people end up having a tough time breathing 2 2. Krishna, R. (2020, May 30). Bronchiolitis Obliterans (Obliterative Bronchiolitis, Constrictive Bronchiolitis). Retrieved August 16, 2020 .