Berylliosis is an incurable occupational disease and is also referred to as chronic beryllium disease. It is an allergic-type lung response caused by exposure to beryllium and its compounds.
1. How did I come to get berylliosis?
Berylliosis develops as an allergic response from your lungs to inhalation of beryllium dust or fumes. Quite often your work may entail tasks that will give off beryllium dust or fumes. It may so happen that you reside in a place that has beryllium compound works underway in the vicinity. This exposure may lead to berylliosis. You are also a part of the risk group if you work in any of the places which are involved with manufacture of spark plugs, aircraft brakes, aircraft engines, ceramics, turbines, bearings, computer electronics, blow mold tools, automotive components, etc. Those working in nuclear power plants, oil refineries and natural gas plants also are a part of the risk group.
2. Besides the dry cough and fatigue, what other symptoms am I likely to experience?
You could experience any of these symptoms if afflicted with berylliosis:
• Chest pain
• Arthralgia (joint pain)
• Cyanosis (bluish tint to the skin)
• Dry cough
• Dyspnoea (fast respiration rate)
• Dermatitis (rashes)
• Shortness of breath (tachypnea)
• Tightness in the chest
• Weight loss
3. What signs will determine that I have berylliosis?
Your chest imaging will show lungs that have developed small inflammatory nodules called granuloma. This granuloma will cause decreased diffusion capacity. Such granuloma may develop in your liver as well. This, accompanied by the presentation of symptoms mentioned earlier, and discussions between you and your doctor, will confirm berylliosis.
4. How long will I take to recover from berylliosis?
Berylliosis is a chronic disease. It is incurable. However, the symptoms can be treated such that the patient is able to lead a life as normal as possible.
5. How is the diagnosis for berylliosis made?
The diagnosis begins with the doctor discussing the occupation data with the patient. If berylliosis is suspected, then further tests are recommended such as: