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What is Sarcoidosis?

Written by Courteney

Posted on April 5, 2017 at 11:21 pm

April is Sarcoidosis Awareness Month, so we wanted to take a closer look at this widely unknown condition. Sarcoidosis is a multisystem condition whereby tiny granulomas (abnormal inflammatory tissues) grow in different parts of the body, most often affecting the lungs, eyes, skin and lymph nodes. Let’s check out some more facts:

  • The root of the condition is not yet fully understood, but medical research seems to suggest it stems from a problem with an over-reactive immune system.
  • Common symptoms include: fatigue, chronic cough, breathing problems, rashes or red bumps, joint problems (such as swelling or pain), enlarged lymph nodes, kidney stones, arrhythmias or other heart problems, psychiatric problems, seizures, vision problems or hearing problems.
  • Sarcoidosis can cause a serious skin condition called lupus pernio (also known as cutaneous sarcoidosis) that causes deep red or purple nodules and marks on the skin.
  • Approximately 1 in every 2500 Americans have some degree of sarcoidosis.
  • Sarcoidosis usually affects young adults and is more prevalent among African-American people than Caucasians. African-American women are most likely to develop the disease than any other demographic.
  • As with many conditions, if you have sarcoidosis, maintaining good health will help your chances of getting rid of the condition. This includes undergoing regular exercise, eating healthy, getting enough water and sleep, and avoiding smoking or excess drinking.
  • Unfortunately, up to 30% of people with sarcoidosis go on to develop some lung damage, so it is very important to follow up regularly with your specialist or doctor if you have the condition, so they can reassess which treatment avenues may be best for you to prevent further damage.
  • Treatment for sarcoidosis sometimes includes medications commonly prescribed for other painful autoimmune conditions including: prednisone, Plaquenil, methotrexate, or other DMARDs (disease modifying antirheumatic drugs).
  • Sarcoidosis is not easily diagnosed, as many of its symptoms can be attributed to other conditions, but if your doctor suspects you may have the condition he or she will examine you and your medical records and order certain tests to confirm such as x-rays or HRTC scans.
  • Causes of sarcoidosis are not fully understood, but the condition seems to stem sometimes from abnormal reaction to certain bacteria or viral strains, chemicals, or in some cases perhaps a hereditary predilection.
  • This condition can involve, or cause complications with the lungs, heart, kidneys, brain or eyes.
  • There is no cure for sarcoidosis but treatment helps most people, and nearly half of all cases resolve themselves or go into long remission stages without treatment. Some severe cases can become chronic and cause damage to organs.

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