Beryllium is everywhere. It is in your cell phone, car, and computer. It may be in your cavity filling, and it is in such common, everyday items – like springs and pipes – that we barely recognize how abundant it is. So what is beryllium, and should this concern us? The short answer is that beryllium is a common type of metal. Should it concern us? Yes and no. Beryllium is used in everyday life because it is a lightweight metal (lighter than aluminum) but is still really strong (stronger even than steel). This makes Beryllium versatile for electronics, travel, dental work, and many other unseen uses. The US alone mines nearly 270 metric tons of the stuff each year because of its usefulness to the modern world. Although beryllium is not harmful in certain forms (as far as we know), anyone who is exposed to and breathes in beryllium particles over a sustained period of time can develop serious health complications. UEW Healthcare and Four Corners Health Care helps to manage the symptoms of beryllium exposure complications, but once affected, there is no cure or treatment.
Beryllium exposure is of major concern in some occupations that still exist today. Among these are beryllium miners, production workers, and even dental technicians. As beryllium is broken into particles and inhaled, as is common in these occupations, they cause chronic beryllium sensitivities which can lead to lung failure, lung cancer, and other problems breathing. Many people with beryllium sensitivity or chronic beryllium lung disease (CBD) feel discouraged about their diagnosis, as a lack of a cure equates to a lack of hope, but this simply isn’t the case. Though beryllium exposure causes respiratory problems, individuals with CBD can still find hope and breathe easy by following our how-to guide on dealing with beryllium toxicity.
Step 1: Stop the Exposure
This is pretty obvious, but the best way to combat CBD or any beryllium sensitivity to stop its exposure. This doesn’t mean giving up your cell phone or Skype calls with your grandkids. It simply means stop inhaling beryllium particulates present at a work site. Many previous beryllium workers have needed to find other work or retire after their diagnosis, as stopping the exposure can reduce sensitivity and potential risk for cancer. This is the first recommended step for anyone faced with beryllium lung problems.
Step 2: Get the Right Medications
Depending on the progress of the disease, there are different treatments your doctor can recommend – which we cover. These can include anything from steroids, such as those found in inhalers (as early breathing difficulties mimic that of asthma) or high strength steroids like prednisone, both of which can reduce scarring and inflammation of lung tissue. Others still sometimes need assisted oxygen tanks if the disease has reached a critical limit. These meds, like we said, are prescribed by your doctor first, but do not cure beryllium sensitivity. They only help mitigate its effects, but consistent use of the proper meds can substantially improve your quality of life and ability to breathe.
Step 3: Exercise
Those who are diagnosed with CBD or any beryllium sensitivity should consider a regime of healthy living, including a diet rich in vitamins and minerals (vegetables) and exercise. We don’t recommend stressing your system with overexertion, but there are plenty of exercises that workers with beryllium sensitivities can do to increase lung capacity, which helps strengthen tissues scarred by beryllium. We might recommend exercises such as swimming or yoga, as both concentrate on breathing while helping with flexibility.
Step 4: Get Support
Energy workers with beryllium exposure complications are entitled to our services for free under the government acts of EEOICPA and RECA. We not only provide home health care, we also offer emotional support for family members and their afflicted workers who are struggling with CBD or beryllium sensitivity. With so many resources in place, we help families breath easier too.
UEW Home Healthcare Services
We hope our how-to guide will be helpful for those going through the rough journey of beryllium sensitivity. We know that it isn’t easy, so we are here to encourage and support you every step of the way. Though our step-by-step process is not fool-proof, our services and dedication to your health are at the forefront of our business. If you or a loved one has an occupational illness covered under EEOICPA and RECA, we encourage you to call us today. Hope and help are only a breath away. (800) 314-2383