What Are the Basics of Sarcoidosis?

What is sarcoidosis?

Sarcoidosis is the growth of tiny abnormal collections of inflammatory cells (granulomas) in different parts of your body — most commonly the lungs, lymph nodes and skin. Less commonly affected are the eyes, liver, heart and brain. Specifically, any organ can be affected.

What are signs or symptoms of sarcoidosis?

Signs and symptoms of sarcoidosis vary depending on the organ involved. They may appear suddenly and then disappear quickly. Or they may develop gradually and produces symptoms that last for lifetime.

According to MAYO CLINIC, patients with sarcoidosis may have following symptoms.

General symptoms

For many people, sarcoidosis begins with these symptoms:

  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Weight loss

Lung symptoms

Patients with sarcoidosis experiencing lung problems may have symptoms like:

  • Persistent dry cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing
  • Chest pain

Skin symptoms

Some patients may develop skin problems, including:

  • A rash of red or reddish-purple bumps, usually located on the shins or ankles, which may be warm and tender to the touch
  • Disfiguring sores (lesions) on the nose, cheeks and ears
  • Areas of skin that are darker or lighter in color
  • Growths under the skin (nodules), particularly around scars or tattoos

Eye symptoms

Sarcoidosis can affect the eyes by causing following symptoms:

  • Blurred vision
  • Eye pain
  • Severe redness
  • Sensitivity to light

Heart symptoms

Signs and symptoms related to cardiac sarcoidosis may include:

  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath (dyspnea)
  • Fainting (syncope)
  • Fatigue
  • Irregular heartbeats (arrhythmias)
  • Rapid or fluttering heart beat (palpitations)
  • Swelling caused by excess fluid (edema)

Consult a doctor if you have signs and symptoms of sarcoidosis listed above.

What are causes of sarcoidosis?

The exact cause of sarcoidosis is not known. While anyone can develop sarcoidosis, factors that may increase your risk include:

  • Age and sex
  • Race
  • Genetics
  • Infectious agents (including mycobacteria, fungi, borrelia and rickettsia)
  • Autoimmune

How to treat sarcoidosis?

There’s no cure for sarcoidosis. Treatments for sarcoidosis vary greatly depending on the patient.

Medications and surgery are two major options that the former is used to treat severe symptoms or threatened organ function, and the latter is considered when your lungs, heart or liver are severely damaged by sarcoidosis.

Medication

  • Corticosteroids
  • Medications that suppress the immune system
  • Hydroxychloroquine
  • Tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) inhibitors

Surgery
Organ transplant

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* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.