Sarcoidosis is an inflammatory disorder where granulomas or lumps of inflammatory cells form in different organs that results to organ inflammation. The condition might be instigated by the reaction of the immune system to foreign substances such as bacteria, viruses or even chemicals.
The parts of the body typically affected by sarcoidosis include the following:
- Lymph nodes
What are the causes?
The precise cause of sarcoidosis is still unknown. Nevertheless, race, gender and genetics might play roles in the development of the condition.
Women are at higher risk for developing the condition than men while those who have African-American descent are also at increased risk. A family history of sarcoidosis puts one at higher risk as well.
The disease rarely affects children and the symptoms typically manifests among individuals between the ages of 20-40 years old.
What are the indications?
Some individuals who have the condition do not have any symptoms. Nevertheless, the general symptoms might include the following:
- Joint pain
- Weight loss
- Dry mouth
- Abdominal swelling
Remember that the symptoms might vary depending on the body part affected by the disorder. It can develop in any organ but typically affects the lungs and causes the following:
- Dry cough
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain particularly around the breastbone
- Hair loss
- Skin rashes
- Elevated scars
- Skin sores
- Itchy eyes
- Dry eyes
- Vision loss
- Eye pain
- Eye drainage
- Burning sensation in the eyes
Nervous system symptoms
- Hearing loss
Remember that there is still no available cure for sarcoidosis. Nevertheless, the symptoms often subside without requiring treatment. The doctor might prescribe medications if there is significant inflammation such as corticosteroids or anti-rejection drugs to minimize the inflammation.
Treatment is usually required if the disease affects the lungs, eyes, heart and the nervous system. The span of treatment tends to vary in which some might take medications for 1-2 years while others might go on longer.
Individuals who have been diagnosed with sarcoidosis will not end up with complications. On the other hand, the disease has a tendency to become chronic or long-term. The possible complications that might develop can include:
- Lung infection
- Facial paralysis
- Kidney failure
- Erratic heart rate
In rare instances, the disease can also cause significant lung and heart damage. Once this occurs, an organ transplant might be needed.