Beryllium disease (sometimes called berylliosis) is a lung inflammation caused by inhaling dust or fumes that contains beryllium
- In some people, the disease develops suddenly (acute beryllium disease), maily as an inflammation of the lungs (pneumonitis).
- In these people, the lungs are stiff and function poorly.
- People with acute disease have an abrupt onset of coughing, difficulty in breathing and weight loss.
- Acute beryllium disease can also affect the skin and the eyes.
- Other people develop chronic beryllium disease, in which abnormal tissue forms in the lungs and the lymph nodes enlarge.
- In these people, coughing, difficulty in breathing and weight loss develop gradually, often 10 to 20 years after exposure.