Exactly What is Lipoid Pneumonia
(also known as Lipid Pneumonia)
The mission of lipoid pneumonia website is providing free health information for people who suffer from lipoid (lipid) pneumonia.
Lipoid Pneumonia, historically at least, is a rare type of pneumonia. However, with that said, the recent rapid increase and popularity of "Coconut Pulling" appears to be resulting in more and more reported cases of a lipoid pneumonia lung condition diagnosis. Lipoid pneumonia is caused by lung inhalation of a fatty substance like coconut oil. Lipoid pneumonia is commonly attributable to ingestion of oils such as petroleum jelly, mineral oils, some nose-drops, and from sesame oil, olive oil or coconut oil via pulling. Once a lung condition is suspected or diagnosed it's best to immediately stop using the oil to avoid a chronic lung condition, bacterial pneumonia, or a serious pulmonary syndrome. LP disease progression may be stopped (at least slowed-down) by quickly stopping exposure to the oil.
A chronic cough caused by lipoid pneumonia, aka lipid pneumonia, is often from coconut oil pulling for dental hygiene, tooth brushing using coconut for both teeth whitening and natural health reasons or gum disease prevention and its treatment, or by using mineral oil as a natural laxative. Caution is warranted in people using oral (dental) coconut-oil pulling, or mineral oil as a laxative, especially in patients with breathing or swallowing issues, asthma history, or gastroesophageal (GERD) acid reflux esophagus disease type of common acid-reflux medical conditions.
Blood tests may also be performed for more complete medical analysis. A bronchoscopy may also be used to consider bleeding issues. Bronchoalveolar testing can look at possible fungal, bacterial, or viral-pathogens which analysis may also reveal possible malignant cells, lipid-laden and foreign body giant size cells within the lung sacs and spaces. That may be related to bacilli fungi, fibrosis or chronic inflammation conditions.
A we said before "lipoid pneumonia" remains a somewhat rare (but getting more common; primarily via "coconut oil pulling" when used for dental health. People with a chronic cough should always be asked if they do coconut-oil-pulling or use mineral oil on a regular basis. A chronic cough is a common indicator of lipid-pneumonia.
However, an early and correct diagnosis of lipoid (lipid) pneumonia can be slow or non-valid due to the somewhat unusual disease clinical features and non-careful medical history which takes into account the possibility of chemical or oil irritants. Healthcare providers must have a higher suspicion level for LP when dealing with patients, especially, those with a chronic cough, and do a complete medical history, asking about coconut oil pulling and about mineral-oil use.
Lipoid pneumonia is caused by reaction to a foreign body being inhaled lipid droplets and a release of cholesterol. In fact, lipid-pneumonia is also known by the terms "cholesterol pneumonia" and "mineral oil pneumonia" resuting from lipids causing an obstructed airway. Because the fatty lipid cannot be easily metabolized, the oil travels to the lungs in time, resulting in giant-cell and internal fibrosis with chronic inflammation of the bronchial walls with fibrosis and cell destruction. Symptoms of LP are frequently an unexplained sudden cough, sounding similar to other chronic lung diseases such as emphysema and bronchittis, for example. Sometimes a fever is present, both with or without a cough.
A complete physical examination should identify lung disease. The lungs can be clear or display a long-standing lung disease. Chest xray findings can be diverse and may mimic several other diseases, such as chronic pneumonia, cancer or local granuloma. A chest CAT scan commonly shows a thickening pattern and lung nodules. Magnetic imaging may also show a high intensity of imaging consistent with lipid pneumonia conditions. Emission-graphy imaging may suggest a lung malignancy, assuming lipoid pneumonia also has a bacterial infection.
Successful diagnosis of lipoid pneumonia is not easy. LP signs and symptoms, and findings are non-specific in nature. LP is difficult to diagnose and health-care providers physicians may not consider or ask about oil use in the diagnosis process of an unusual chronic cough. Patients may not mention or even have knowledge regarding the fatty oil substance issue.
Patients are usually not aware of potential side-effects of the oils and likely will not consider the oil use as part of their medication regimen when asked about their meds by the healthcare provider. LP can develop from lengthy oral oil pulling after coconut, sesame seed or olive oil oral use and consumption, facial petroleum oil application for skin-psoriasis, and excessive use of lip balm containing mineral oil, with mineral oil also being a popular over-the-counter laxative all over the world, and both mineral oil and coconut oil also in-use for other conditions too, such as skin health therapy.
Coconut and mineral oil medical use range from tracheostomy health care to constipation. These oils may also be used as a home-remedy for other common issues, such as nasal stuffiness and colic among babies and kids. Africans and Mexicans commonly use mineral oil or coconut oil for children's colic or cough, plus other health issues with babies. When the lipid laden oil is used in infants it's from butter feeding as the lipid substance is used as an old folk remedy, making the parents less likely to mention it to health care providers. Most cases are finally diagnosed after a lung biopsy so LP treatment may be commenced as soon as diagnosed and medically possible.
Treatment of Lipoid pneumonia is not standardized other than typically being asked to avoid ongoing oil exposure and offering care. Steroids have been used to at least slow down the inflammatory condition but not supported by much in the way of medical evidence or research. Most lipoid-pneumonia cases eventually fade-away upon stopping use and exposure to the oil products. Steroid therapy may be withheld or delayed unless the lung injury is already severe upon diagnosis and looks like it's getting even worse.
A relatively new lipoid lung damage therapy is an emulsifying liquid therapy which has been used successfully with a severe case of lipoid pneumonia and could be a future treatment option for LP Disease treatment of recurrent pneumonia or chronic lung disease. There is no single medical imaging or clinical feature that is specific for LP, so the doctor needs a high suspicion of all possible causes to accurately diagnose dyspnea and unusual pulmonary chronic coughing imaging test analysis, and use other preferred studies. LP should be considered in making the right diagnosis in a patient with a suspicious chronic cough, especially if it's from an unknown cause.