Definition

Sarcoidosis is a disease that forms round spots called granulomas in organs in the body. The most common places they form are in the lungs and lymph nodes.

Causes

Inflammation is how the body acts toward an infection or injury. Inflammation should go away when you are healed. Inflammation does not pass in people with sarcoidosis. The cells that cause it stay and cause granulomas. It is not known why this happens. It may be due to genetics or the environment.

Risk Factors

Sarcoidosis is more common in women who are 20 to 40 years old. It is also more common in people of African and Northern European descent.

Other things that may raise your risk are:

  • Family members with sarcoidosis
  • Working or spending time in dusty or moldy environments

Symptoms

There may not be symptoms at first. Symptoms that happen depend on the organs that are involved. There may be:

  • Fever
  • Weight loss
  • Night sweats
  • Tiredness
  • Breathing problems, such as shortness of breath and wheezing
  • Cough
  • Chest pain
  • Rapid heart beat
  • Lightheadedness or vertigo
  • Facial paralysis, such as Bell palsy
  • Problems hearing, speaking, and swallowing
  • Headache
  • Seizures
Bell Palsy
Facial droop and nerves
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Diagnosis

You will be asked about your symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done.

A biopsy may be done to look for granulomas.

Images may be taken to view your lungs and lymph nodes. This can be done with

Other tests may be done to see how well your organs are working. These may be:

Treatment

There is no cure. Treatment is aimed at managing symptoms. Eye and lung exams will be needed to watch for changes over time. Treatment choices are:

Medication

These medicines may be used:

  • Corticosteroids to ease inflammation
  • Medicine to suppress the immune system
  • Tumor necrosis factor antagonists to ease inflammation
  • Antimicrobial drugs to treat skin problems

Surgery

Organ transplant of the heart, lung, liver, or kidneys may be needed in people who are not helped by medicine.

Prevention

There are no prevention methods.

RESOURCES

American Lung Association  http://www.lung.org 

Arthritis Foundation  http://www.arthritis.org 

CANADIAN RESOURCES

The Arthritis Society  http://www.arthritis.ca 

The Lung Association  http://www.lung.ca 

References

Explore sarcoidosis. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute website. Available at: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/sarc. Accessed July 30, 2019.

Sarcoidosis. American Lung Association website. Available at: http://www.lung.org/lung-disease/sarcoidosis. Accessed July 30, 2019.

Sarcoidosis in adults. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:  https://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T116787/Sarcoidosis-in-adults . Updated November 21, 2019. Accessed July 30, 2019.

Sarcoidosis in children. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:  https://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T316439/Sarcoidosis-in-children . Updated May 31, 2017. Accessed July 30, 2019.

6/14/2016 DynaMed Systematic Literature Surveillance  https://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T116787/Sarcoidosis-in-adults : Soto-Gomez N, Peters JI, et al. Diagnosis and management of sarcoidosis. Am Fam Physician. 2016;93(10:840-848.

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