Pronounced: sar-coy-doe-sisEn Español (Spanish Version)
Sarcoidosis is an inflammatory disease that may affect many different parts of the body. Small round spots, called granulomas, form in various organs. The spots hinder normal functioning of those organs.
The lungs are the most commonly affected organs. Granulomas in the lung leave less space for the air exchange that needs to take place. This can cause the lungs to stiffen. Other commonly affected organs are the skin, eyes, liver, and lymph nodes. Rarely, the brain may be affected.
Scientists do not know what causes sarcoidosis. It seems to be related to malfunctioning of the immune system. The disease may possibly be triggered by an infection or exposure to a toxin in the environment.
Some people may be more susceptible to sarcoidosis due to genetic or environmental factors.
A risk factor is something that increases your chance of getting a disease or condition. Risk factors for sarcoidosis include:
Symptoms vary and can occur in different parts of the body, depending on where the granulomas form. Most symptoms develop in the lungs, skin, eyes, and liver. Multiple body systems may be affected. Symptoms may come and go. This disease is often acute, but in some patients it is chronic, waxing and waning.
Symptoms may include:
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The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history, and perform a physical exam. There is no specific lab test that confirms a diagnosis of sarcoidosis. Instead, the diagnosis is made by noting a cluster of symptoms and a number of medical tests that are usually positive in patients with this condition.
In some cases there may not be any symptoms. The disease may sometimes be suspected based on the appearance of a routine x-ray .
Tests may include:
Treatment aims to ease symptoms and minimize permanent problems. Treatment may include:
You need regular medical and eye exams to monitor for symptoms and complications of sarcoidosis.
Drugs that may be prescribed include the following:
To help minimize your symptoms, follow these guidelines:
Although doctors do not know the exact cause of sarcoidosis, they believe infections or exposure to chemicals may bring on the disease. Steps for prevention may include:
Last reviewed November 2008 by Rosalyn Carson-DeWitt, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.