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Berylliosis Symptoms & Diagnosis

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Berylliosis Guide

Alison Beaver

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Symptoms

Symptoms of acute berylliosis come on suddenly and rapidly. The main symptoms are due to severe lung inflammation. These symptoms include:

  • Coughing, possibly bringing up blood-tinged sputum
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Weight loss

Inflammation in Lungs

Inflammed Lung and asthma
© 2009 Nucleus Medical Art, Inc.

Symptoms of chronic berylliosis develop slowly. Sometimes, symptoms may not appear until many years after exposure to beryllium. Chronic berylliosis produces two main pathologic changes:

  • Scarring of the lung tissue
  • Formation of granulomas (inflammatory masses) in the lungs (primarily) and other organs

In severe cases, berylliosis may lead to heart failure .

Symptoms of chronic berylliosis may include:

  • Dry cough
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath

Diagnosis

The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history and perform a physical exam. Tests may include:

  • Chest x-ray
  • Pulmonary function tests (PFTs) —to assess your ability to breathe
  • BeLPT (beryllium lymphocyte proliferation test)—a blood test that determines allergic sensitivity to beryllium
  • Lung biopsy —to test lung tissue using a bronchoscope (a thin, lighted tube that is inserted into the airways) to remove the sample

Symptoms of chronic berylliosis may not appear until years after exposure. Therefore, all workers who may have been exposed to beryllium should have BeLPT tests, even if they have no symptoms.

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Copyright © 2014 EBSCO Publishing All rights reserved.

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