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Sarcoidosis (cont.)

Sarcoidosis Causes

The cause of sarcoidosis is unknown. Sarcoidosis is currently thought to be associated with an abnormal immune response. It is not known whether the trigger that initiates the immune disturbance is a foreign substance, chemical, drug, virus, or some other substance. Sarcoidosis is not a cancer. It is not contagious, and friends and family will not catch it from an affected individual. Although it can occur in families, there is no evidence that sarcoidosis is passed from parents to children.

Sarcoidosis Symptoms

Sarcoidosis can appear suddenly and disappear. Alternatively, it can develop gradually and go on to produce symptoms that come and go, sometimes for a lifetime.

The symptoms of sarcoidosis depend on what areas of the body are affected.

  • Shortness of breath (dyspnea) and a cough that won't go away can be among the first symptoms of sarcoidosis.
  • But sarcoidosis can also show up suddenly with the appearance of skin rashes.
    • Tender, raised, red bumps (called subcutaneous sarcoidosis or erythema nodosum) on the shins of the legs, or less frequently on the arms, are common and can cause leg or arm pain.
    • A rash on the surface of the skin (cutaneous sarcoidosis or sarcoid dermatitis) of the face occurs frequently.
  • Inflammation of the eyes can also occur.

More generalized symptoms of sarcoidosis include:

It is important to note that sarcoidosis is usually not crippling. It often goes away by itself, often healing in 24 to 36 months. Even when sarcoidosis lasts longer, most patients can go about their lives as usual.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/8/2015

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