Complications from Beryllium Disease

Like many diseases, if you have been diagnosed with chronic beryllium disease or CBD there can be complications from beryllium disease.

Beryllium disease or berylliosis is an incurable lung disease which developed after inhaling beryllium fumes and dust. Beryllium is a metal used in the fabrication of special parts for e.g. missile guidance systems, in nuclear plants. The disease was still unknown till the 70’s when workers in a spacecraft manufacturing plant showed symptoms of the disease.


The disease itself develops within 8 to 10 years after the patient was exposed to beryllium. But there have been cases when chronic beryllium disease develop even at 30 years after exposure to beryllium. When you are aware that your work exposes you to beryllium, take note of the following signs and symptoms.

The common symptoms of having a chronic beryllium disease are loss of appetite, weight loss, shortness of breath, cough, night sweats and fever.


Chronic beryllium disease is a rare lung disease. The damage to the respiratory system of a person exposed to unsafe amounts of beryllium can result to an enlarged heart and heart disease over time.

The worst complications from beryllium disease are disability and death since beryllium exposure may also cause lung cancer.

Complications from beryllium disease also include affecting other organs of the body such as the extrapulmonary lymph nodes, salivary glands, spleen, kidneys, bone, skeletal muscle, liver and myocardium.

These complications may be damaging since symptoms appear late in the disease stage, making the sufferer unaware of the advance stage of the disease. Other symptoms of the disease are dyspnea, skin lesions, inspiratory crackles on pulmonary auscultation and hepatosplenomegaly.

Diagnosis of the disease would require a positive blood test or a bronchoalveolar lavage beryllium-specific lymphocyte proliferation test. However, those with a positive blood test result may not have chronic beryllium disease but are at risk of developing it over the course of time.

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