Woman’s e-cigarette habit leads to her ‘cobalt lung’ diagnosis – an incurable disease found only in metal workers

Woman’s e-cigarette habit leads to her ‘cobalt lung’ diagnosis – an incurable disease found only in metal workers

Cobalt lung (Photo: University of California San Francisco)

case study published in the European Respiratory Journal this week which focuses on a 49-year-old woman in California who developed the rare disease after vaping for just six months. The woman, a dog trainer by trade, sought out medical help when she began experiencing symptoms like shortness of breath and coughing — which aligned with the pneumonia-like cases of EVALI.’ data-reactid=”23″>The news comes from a case study published in the European Respiratory Journal this week which focuses on a 49-year-old woman in California who developed the rare disease after vaping for just six months. The woman, a dog trainer by trade, sought out medical help when she began experiencing symptoms like shortness of breath and coughing — which aligned with the pneumonia-like cases of EVALI.

Jones says EVALI and cobalt lung develop differently. “With the EVALI cases, patients suffer an acute collapse and damage of the lung that comes on pretty quickly, probably over a few hours,” he explains. “Whereas our case is more of an immune reaction. It’s kind of an allergic reaction…to the metal found in people who are susceptible to cobalt and the disease would develop over the course of weeks or months.”

The researchers are spreading the word about the case of cobalt lung in part because they fear it’s not the only one. “I think that cobalt is probably in a lot of these e-cigarettes,” says Jones. “Maybe a small percentage of patients that use them will end up with the disease — and probably already have, but it hasn’t been recognized yet.”

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