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What is Sarcoidosis?

Sarcoidosis is a disease characterized by a specific type of inflammation of various tissues of the body. Sarcoidosis can appear in almost any body organ, but it starts most often in the lungs or lymph nodes. As sarcoidosis progresses, microscopic lumps of a specific form of inflammation, called granulomas, appear in the affected tissues. In the majority of cases, these granulomas clear up, either with or without treatment. In the few cases in which the granulomas do not heal and disappear, the tissues involved tend to remain inflamed and become scarred (fibrotic). In addition to the lungs and lymph nodes, the organs more likely than others to be affected by sarcoidosis are the liver, skin, heart, nervous system, and kidneys, in that order of frequency.

Sarcoidosis is sometimes named according to the organ involved.

  • When sarcoidosis affects the lungs, it can be referred to as lung sarcoidosis or pulmonary sarcoidosis.
  • When sarcoidosis affects the liver, it can be referred to as hepatic sarcoidosis.
  • When sarcoidosis affects the skin, it can be referred to as skin sarcoidosis or sarcoid dermatitis.
  • When sarcoidosis affects the heart, it can be referred to as heart sarcoidosis or cardiac sarcoidosis.
  • When sarcoidosis affects the nervous system including the brain, it can be referred to as neurological sarcoidosis or neurosarcoidosis.
  • When sarcoidosis affects the kidneys, it can be referred to as kidney sarcoidosis or renal sarcoidosis.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/8/2015

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