Berylliosis is a chronic lung disease caused by prolonged exposure to beryllium, a chemical irritant to the lungs.
With prolonged exposure, the lungs become hypersensitive to beryllium causing the development of small inflammatory nodules, called granulomas.
Granulomas are seen in other chronic diseases, such as tuberculosis and sarcoidosis, and it can occasionally be hard to distinguish berylliosis from these disorders.
Ultimately, this process leads to restrictive lung disease, a decreased diffusion capacity.
Clinically patients experience cough and shortness of breath. Other symptoms include chest pain, joint aches, weight loss and fever.