Sarcoidosis is a rare inflammatory condition in which clumps of inflammatory cells (called noncaseating granulomas) form in the body, most commonly in the lungs and lymph nodes in the chest cavity. It can also affect the heart, eyes, skin, and nervous system.
It is unknown how a person gets sarcoidosis. It is thought there may be a genetic component, or that bacteria, viruses, or chemicals may trigger the disease.
Risk factors for developing sarcoidosis include:
- Working in dusty or moldy environments
- People of African and Scandinavian descent are at higher risk
- More common in women
- More commonly develops in people between 20 to 40 years of age
What Are Symptoms of Sarcoidosis?
Symptoms of sarcoidosis depend on the extent and severity of organ involvement, and may include:
- Shortness of breath, especially with exertion
- Persistent dry cough (and rarely, coughing up blood)
- Chest pain
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Swollen red or purple bumps, usually on the shins (erythema nodosum)
- Purple rash on the cheeks or nose
- Lupus pernio
- Extreme tiredness
- Eye inflammation (uveitis) and other eye problems
- Blurred vision
- Sensitivity to light
- Eye lesions
- Night sweats
- Joint and bone pain
- Bone disorders
- Swollen lymph nodes
How Is Sarcoidosis Diagnosed?
Symptoms of sarcoidosis are similar to many other conditions. If sarcoidosis is suspected, the following tests may be indicated:
What Is the Treatment for Sarcoidosis?
Sarcoidosis treatment depends on the severity of the disease and which organs are involved. Treatment is aimed at managing symptoms and improving organ function. Patients with mild symptoms may not need treatment.
Treatment for sarcoidosis may include:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for joint pain and rheumatologic symptoms
- Corticosteroids for lung inflammation
- Other non-steroid medications
- Rehabilitation programs
In rare cases, patients with advanced lung scarring (pulmonary fibrosis) from sarcoidosis may need oxygen therapy lung transplantation.