What is berylliosis (beryllium disease)?
Berylliosis (or beryllium disease) is caused by the inhalation of beryllium particles, dust or fumes. Its symptoms include coughing, shortness of breath, fatigue, weight loss or loss of appetite, fever and sweating. Medical tests may reveal abnormal lung sounds, lung scars, decreased pulmonary function, granulomas (a nodular form of chronic inflammation)
and an allergy to beryllium. Beryllium is a brittle, steel-grey metal found as a component of coal, oil, certain rock minerals, volcanic dust, and soil. Elemental beryllium is the second lightest of all metals and is used in a wide variety of applications. Exposure to beryllium most often occurs in mining, extraction, and in the processing of alloy metals containing beryllium.
Beryllium disease can be categorized into two types. Acute beryllium disease has a sudden, rapid onset and is characterized by severe inflammation of the lungs (pneumonitis), coughing, increasing breathlessness (dyspnea), and other associated symptoms and findings. In addition, in some individuals, the skin or the eyes may be affected. The more common, chronic form of the disease develops more slowly and, in some cases, may not become apparent for many years after initial beryllium exposure. Chronic beryllium disease is characterized by the abnormal formation of inflammatory masses or nodules (granulomas) within certain tissues and organs and widespread scarring and thickening of deep lung tissues (interstitial pulmonary fibrosis). Although granuloma development primarily affects the lungs, it may also occur within other bodily tissues and organs, such as the skin and underlying (subcutaneous) tissues or the liver. In individuals with chronic beryllium disease, associated symptoms and findings often include dry coughing, fatigue, weight loss, chest pain, and increasing shortness of breath.
More information on berylliosis (beryllium disease)
What is berylliosis (beryllium disease)? - Berylliosis (or beryllium disease) is caused by the inhalation of beryllium particles, dust or fumes. Ventilators can help patients with acute berylliosis breathe.
What is chronic beryllium disease? - Chronic beryllium disease (CBD) is characterized by the inflammation of the lungs caused by exposure to Beryllium fumes or dust.
What is acute beryllium disease? - Acute beryllium disease presents as an acute, toxic, exudative pneumonitis. Acute beryllium disease usually has a quick onset and resembles pneumonia or bronchitis.
What're the symptoms of berylliosis (beryllium disease)? - Symptoms of beryllium disease may include cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, weight loss and/or loss of appetite, fevers and night sweats.
How is berylliosis (beryllium disease) diagnosed? - The diagnosis of berylliosis (beryllium disease) is based on the person's history of exposure to beryllium, the symptoms, and characteristic changes on a chest x-ray.
What's the treatment for berylliosis (beryllium disease)? - Ventilators can help patients with acute berylliosis breathe. Prompt corticosteroid therapy is required to lessen lung inflammation.