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When deciding whether to take the Beryllium Lymphocyte Proliferation Test (BeLPT), you should carefully consider both the potential benefits and possible negative consequences.
If you know you are sensitized, you may seek follow-up evaluation. That could result in early diagnosis of Chronic Beryllium Disease (CBD) and treatment of it. Early treatment may help control progression of the disease.
While a confirmed reactive BeLPT result does not mean that you have CBD, it suggests that you may want to pursue further medical evaluation to determined whether there is evidence of CBD. It is possible to diagnose CBD in its early stages when there are no noticeable symptoms.
Any person with a lung condition, including CBD, may benefit from pneumonia and flu vaccinations and early treatment of respiratory infections. Detection of CBD by further medical evaluation after a confirmed reactive BeLPT may be the best way to get this important information.
Symptoms of CBD are difficult to distinguish from those of more common conditions like emphysema and asthma. If you and your health care provider know that you are sensitized to beryllium, it is more likely that an early and correct diagnosis of CBD can be made and that your health care provider and you will not mistake your symptoms for another respiratory illness.
If you know you are sensitized, you are better equipped to make an informed decision about the advisability of potential future beryllium exposure.
Possible Negative Consequences
No one can predict if or when an individual who is sensitized to beryllium will develop CBD. The BeLPT can only tell if an individual is sensitized and, therefore at higher risk for CBD. No treatment is available for sensitized individuals to reduce or eliminate the higher risk of getting CBD. Living with these uncertainties has resulted in depression and/or anxiety in some sensitized individuals. Some have sought and received treatment for depression and/or anxiety after learning they were sensitized.
Recommended evaluations for sensitized individuals may include period lifelong bronchoscopies and lung biopsies, and exercise tolerance tests. Bronchoscopy with biopsy is an invasive test and the Exercise Tolerance Test involves the use of an invasive arterial line. While these are considered low-risk medicals procedures, all invasive medical procedures have some risk of complications.
Please Note: Be sure to read all the educations material list on the Beryllium Medical Monitoring Employee Consent From before you make your decision about participating. You may wish to take advantage of other sources of information on the BeLPT and Chronic Beryllium Disease as well. Below are two websites you may wish to browse: