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Beryllium Symptoms

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Health Symptoms have appeared in some people a few months after exposure, but not for as long as 30 years in others.

If you work in a place where Beryllium is used and have developed any of the symptoms listed below, you should inform your health care professional of your past beryllium exposure, or seek information from a health care professional who specializes in occupational lung diseases to determine whether you may have developed Beryllium symptoms:

  • Unexplained coughing
  • Night sweats
  • Shortness of breath with physical exertion
  • Fatigue
  • Chest and joint pain
  • Blood in the sputum (sputum is saliva, mucus, and other discharges that can be coughed up from the respiratory system)
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss or loss of appetite
  • Skin rash
  • Fevers and night sweats

If you do not have any of the above symptoms but are concerned that you may have become sensitized to beryllium, you should inform your health care professional that you would like to be tested with the blood BeLPT. Take a copy of this Hazard Information Bulletin with you.

Please remember that the true diagnosis of CBD can only be made through medical tests specific for beryllium disease. CBD is rare and it is unlikely that a person exhibiting the above symptoms actually has the disease.

BLOOD TESTING FOR BERYLLIUM SENSITIZATION

Only the three medical research centers and the one laboratory listed below currently offer the blood test to identify beryllium-sensitized workers as indicated by a positive blood BeLPT. As other research centers and laboratories develop the capacity to screen workers for beryllium sensitization, they will be added to the list.

Beryllium symptoms resemble those of other lung diseases, particularly a disease called sarcoidosis. Studies have found that in some cases doctors have mis-diagnosed Chronic Berillium as sarcoidosis or another disease.

Signs of beryllium disease that your doctor may notice include:

 

•  Abnormal lung sounds heard with a stethoscope

•  Many small lung scars seen on a chest x-ray

•  Abnormal breathing tests (pulmonary function tests)

•  Allergy (sensitization) to beryllium, which is measured in the blood or in lung washings with a test called the beryllium lymphocyte proliferation test (BeLPT)

•  A particular type of scar called a granuloma, found in lung or skin tissue when biopsied and examined under a microscope

If you have been exposed to beryllium and develop unexplained cough, shortness of breath, fatigue or skin rash, you should inform your doctor of your past beryllium exposure or seek information from a doctor who specializes in occupational lung diseases.