Sarcoidosis

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 slow down normal functioning of those organs.

  • Causes

    The cause of sarcoidosis is not known. It seems to be related to malfunctioning of the immune system. The disease may 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.

  • Definition

    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 slow down normal functioning of those organs.

  • Diagnosis

    The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. An eye exam may also be done. There is no specific lab test that confirms a diagnosis of sarcoidosis. Instead, the diagnosis is made based on symptoms and medical tests that are usually positive in patients with this condition.

    Your bodily fluids and tissues may be tested. This can be done with:

    • Blood tests
    • Urine tests
    • Biopsy

    Your bodily structures may need to be viewed. This can be done with:

    • X-rays
    • Bronchoscopy
    • CT scan
    • Gallium scan


    Your heart activity may be tested. This can be done with an
    electrocardiogram (ECG, EKG)
    .


    Your lung function may be tested. This can be done with
    pulmonary function tests (PFTs)
    .

  • Prevention

    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:

    • Don't smoke. If you smoke, quit.
    • Avoid exposure to chemicals and toxins.
    • To prevent infection, wash your hands before eating or preparing food and after using the bathroom.

  • Risk Factors

    Factors that may increase your risk of sarcoidosis include:

    • Age: 20 to 40
    • Sex: female
    • Ethnic descent: African-American, Northern European, Scandinavian, and Irish

  • Symptoms

    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.

    Symptoms may include:

    • Cough
    • Shortness of breath
    • Wheezing
    • Chest pain
    • Rash
    • Fever
    • Pain or irritation of eyes
    • Fatigue, especially with exertion
    • Muscle weakness
    • Night sweats
    • Loss of appetite
    • Weight loss
    • Swollen lymph nodes
    • Seizures
    • Tremors
    • Difficulty hearing
    • Blurred vision or blindness
    • Poor coordination
    • Trouble walking
    • Irregular heart rate
    • Pain, swelling, and stiffness in the joints
    • Facial paralysis known as Bell's Palsy
    Bell's Palsy
    Facial droop and nerves
    Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

  • Treatment

    Treatment aims to ease symptoms and minimize permanent problems. Treatment may include: