How is beryllium disease diagnosed?
Early in the disease, the person who has CBD has no symptoms, so the disease can be difficult to diagnose. Your doctor may look for certain signs that may indicate CBD, including unusual breath sounds in your lungs, swollen lymph nodes, and an enlarged liver. These signs develop in late stages of the disease.
Beryllium-exposed individuals should have regular health examinations, including chest X-rays and breathing tests. It is also recommended that all beryllium-exposed individuals be tested for beryllium sensitivity (BeS) with a blood test called beryllium lymphocyte proliferation test (BeLPT). This test measures your white blood cells' reaction to beryllium.
If you have an abnormal chest X-ray, breathing test, or BeLPT, your doctor may want to consider a bronchoscopy. During a bronchoscopy, a slender tube with a camera on the end is inserted into the lungs to allow the doctor to obtain samples (washings) to look for evidence of BeS in the lung, and biopsies to look for granulomas and other changes caused by beryllium disease.