Sarcoidosis is a disease involving abnormal collections of inflammatory cells that form lumps known as granulomas. If many granulomas form in an organ, they can affect how the organ works. Sarcoidosis occurs worldwide, with a prevalence of about 4.7-64 in 100,000, and an incidence of 1.0-35.5 in 100,000 per year
This disease may be triggered by your body’s immune system responding to foreign substances, such as viruses, bacteria, or chemicals. The areas of the body commonly affected by sarcoidosis include:
- lymph nodes
Sarcoidosis is more common in women than in men and rarely occurs in children. People with a family history of sarcoidosis have a significantly higher risk of getting the disease.
The signs and symptoms depend on the organ involved. Often there are no, or only mild, symptoms. However, general symptoms may include:
- Skin lesions
- Lung problem
- Eye problem
- weight loss
- joint pain
- dry mouth
- abdominal swelling
- Shortness of breath
- Night sweats
sarcoidosis cannot be prevented, but some preventative measures may reduce complication. These are:
- Influenza vaccination.
- Osteoporosis prophylaxis (steroid usage).
- Patient education (early treatment of extrapulmonary complications such as uveitis and arrhythmias).
- Smoking cessation advice (although evidence is lacking to show it causes deterioration in pulmonary sarcoidosis).
Diagnosis of sarcoidosis depends on the type of presentation, affected organs, age of the patient and ethnic origin/recent travel history. It can occasionally be made on clinical grounds without a confirmatory biopsy when very specific clinical findings are present.
However, in some cases, the diagnosis may require histological evidence of granulomatous inflammation, exclusion of alternative causes, and evidence of systemic disease.
Furthermore, based on the findings, additional diagnostic tests may be ordered by your Doctor. For example:
- A chest X-ray can be used to check for granulomas and swollen lymph nodes.
- A chest CT scan is an imaging test that takes cross-sectional pictures of your chest.
- A lung function test can help determine whether your lung capacity has become affected.
- A biopsy involves taking a sample of tissue that can be checked for granulomas.
There’s no cure for sarcoidosis. However, symptoms often improve without treatment. The Doctor may prescribe medications if your inflammation is severe. These can include corticosteroids or anti-rejection medications, which can both help reduce inflammation.
Compiled by: eDokita Team.
- Valeyre D, Prasse A, Nunes H, et al; Sarcoidosis. Lancet. 2013 Sep 30. pii: S0140-6736(13)60680-7. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(13)60680-7.
- Gerke AK; Morbidity and mortality in sarcoidosis. Curr Opin Pulm Med. 2014 Sep;20(5):472-8. doi: 10.1097/MCP.0000000000000080.
- William C. Shiel and John P. Cunha; Sarcoidosis. MedicineNet.com .2016
- National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute; What is sarcoidosis? 2013
- Valencia Higuera and Steven Kim; Sarcoidosis. Health line 2015.