Berylliosis: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment, Prevention

What Is Berylliosis?

Berylliosis as stated is an occupational lung disorder which is caused in people who are involved with working with an element called Beryllium. This element is normally found in rocks, volcanic dust, coal etc. and is used in some industries. Berylliosis usually develops in those individuals who are sensitive to Beryllium.

What Is Berylliosis?

Berylliosis Can Be Of 2 Types– Acute And Chronic

Acute Berylliosis: This type of Berylliosis is caused by limited exposure and is a very rare phenomenon in today’s times.

Chronic Berylliosis: This type of Berylliosis is caused after prolonged exposure to Beryllium. This type of Berylliosis is more common than the Acute form of Berylliosis.

What Are The Causes Of Berylliosis?

Berylliosis as stated is caused due to exposure to the element Beryllium. Berylliosis is usually found in people who are sensitive to this element. Some of the risk factors for developing Berylliosis are involvement in the following industries:

What Are The Causes Of Berylliosis?

  • Aerospace
  • Electronics
  • Fiberoptic
  • Mining
  • Nuclear reactors
  • Scrap metalwork
  • Manufacturing of mirrors, microwaves etc.

What Are Some Of The Symptoms Of Berylliosis?


The symptoms of Berylliosis are usually caused as a result of severe inflammation of the lungs. These symptoms are:

How Is Berylliosis Diagnosed?

To diagnose Berylliosis, the treating physician will inquire about the symptoms and specifically will inquire about occupational history of the individual. To diagnose Berylliosis, the affected individual needs to be exposed to beryllium. A test called as Beryllium Lymphocyte Proliferation Test will come out to be positive. There will be presence of granulomas when a lung biopsy is conducted.

How Is Berylliosis Diagnosed?

Some of the other tests to confirm the diagnosis of beryllium lymphocyte proliferation test are:

  • Chest x-ray
  • Pulmonary Function Test.

What Are The Treatments For Berylliosis?

The cornerstone for management of Berylliosis is to stop further exposure to beryllium. To treat Berylliosis, a corticosteroid may be given for decreasing inflammation. Berylliosis is definitely treatable if symptoms are identified and management is started early enough.

What Are The Ways To Prevent Berylliosis?

Some Measures To Prevent Berylliosis Include:

  • Maintaining adequate ventilation in workplace
  • Wear a facemask to avoid exposure to beryllium.
  • One should not eat, drink, or smoke in areas where beryllium is being used.
  • One should never wear normal clothing at workplace and the employer should provide work clothes for protection
  • After work one should take a shower before changing back to usual clothing.
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:August 21, 2019

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