What is sarcoidosis?

Sarcoidosis is an inflammatory disease and is characterized by the growth of tiny collections of inflammatory cells.  These patches of inflamed cells can occur in different parts of the body but are most common, or most likely to affect the lungs, lymph nodes, eyes and skin.  Most cases are only temporary, and over half heal without any treatment at all.  


Of all the parts of the body which can be affected, the lungs are the most common organs to be hit by sarcoidosis.  This is known as pulmonary sarcoidosis, which specifically presents as small patches of inflamed cells on the breathing tubes of the lungs, known as the bronchioles, the tiny air sacs contained in the lungs, known as the alveoli, or on the lymph nodes.  Pulmonary sarcoidosis can cause serious complications with breathing by causing scar tissue in the lungs, and decreasing the ability of the lungs to function efficiently and exchange oxygen to and from the bloodstream.

What causes sarcoidosis?

The exact cause of sarcoidosis is not known, but the medical community believes that it is a result of the body and it’s immune system responding to some type of foreign substance, probably something that was inhaled.  Currently there is no cure for sarcoidosis, but the condition is manageable with the right treatment plan.  In many cases, sarcoidosis will resolve, or go away on its own. If, on the other hand, sarcoidosis does not clear up shortly after it first appears, The signs and symptoms can last for many years and as a result cause internal scarring and organ damage.In serious cases, medical clinicians will treat the symptoms a patient is having, in order or improve lung function and help improve organ function.

What are the symptoms of sarcoidosis?

General symptoms:

  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Weight loss

Lung symptoms:

·         a dry cough

·         shortness of breath

·         mild chest pain

Skin and body symptoms:

·         a scaly rash

·         red bumps on your legs

·         fever

·         sore eyes

·         swollen, painful ankles

·         nodules

Eye symptoms:

  • Blurred vision
  • Eye pain
  • Severe redness
  • Sensitivity to light

Who is most at risk for developing sarcoidosis?

Sarcoiosis can happen to anyone, but there are definitely certain people who are more at risk than others. Some of these risk factors include the following:

  • Age and sex: Sarcoidosis is more likely to occur in people aged 20 to 40. Furthermore it is more common, or more likely to develop in women.
  • Race: Sarcoidosis is more likely in african-Americans, and they have a much higher incidence of sarcoidosis than white people in America do. Additionally, the severity of sarcoidosis is worse in African Americans and more likely to occur and cause long term lung complications.
  • Family history. If someone in your family has had sarcoidosis, you are more likely to develop the disease yourself.