Chronic Beryllium Disease: Damage & Scarring of Lung Tissue
Chronic beryllium disease or berylliosis is painful scarring of the lung tissue caused by exposure to the metal beryllium. Victims of chronic beryllium disease first develop an allergic response to beryllium known as “beryllium sensitization.” Symptoms include cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, fevers, skin rash, and night sweats. In the later stages, lung tissue becomes scarred. In severe cases, the right side of the heart may be strained due to increased pressure in the pulmonary artery from lung damage.
Screening methods for beryllium disease include chest x–rays, a blood test called the “beryllium lymphocyte proliferation test,” and a breathing test (pulmonary function test). See Beryllium Disease: Detection for details.
Chronic beryllium disease may be treated, but not cured. Adrenocortical steroids can reduce inflammation of the lung tissue. Physicians most commonly prescribe the steroid prednisone. Other steroids may also be useful. Mechanical ventilation of the lungs and administration of oxygen may be necessary in advanced cases of the disease.
For detailed information about the metal beryllium, beryllium exposure risks, and berylliosis detection and treatment, see our web site, Beryllium Network. If you have been diagnosed with chronic beryllium disease and wish to know more about your legal options, please feel free to contact Brayton Purcell LLP today at Brayton Purcell LLP. We have extensive experience with beryllium litigation on behalf of injured workers and their families.