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What is Sarcoidosis?

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WHAT CAUSES SARCOIDOSIS?

No one knows yet what causes Sarcoidosis. Some physicians believe that Sarcoidosis may result from a respiratory infection caused by a virus. Others feel that exposure to toxins or allergens in the environment are to blame. Most scientists do agree that Sarcoidosis is a disorder of the immune system, with some people vulnerable to getting the disease while the majority of the population remains healthy and unaffected.

To make a diagnosis of Sarcoidosis in a patient, the physician must first exclude other, known diseases that may be similar in appearance to Sarcoidosis. For example, infections like tuberculosis, and certain cancers, such as lymphomas, can mimic many of the signs and symptoms of Sarcoidosis. It is very important for a physician to thoroughly investigate a patient before giving the diagnosis of Sarcoidosis because other types of diseases might require much different treatments.


WHERE IN THE BODY IS SARCOIDOSIS FOUND?

As much as ninety percent of Sarcoidosis cases are initially found in the lungs. However, Sarcoidosis can also occur in other organs of the body at the same time or later in the disease course. Other commonly affected sites include the lymph nodes, skin and eyes.

WHAT IS THE TYPICAL COURSE OF SARCOIDOSIS?

In most cases of Sarcoidosis with little or no symptoms, the disease disappears of its own accord, and no treatment is necessary.

If the lung Sarcoidosis is severe, or if the disease spreads to the skin or other organs, then there is a greater chance that the Sarcoidosis will become chronic and resistant to treatment.

The most serious outcome of chronic Sarcoidosis is the development of pulmonary fibrosis, where the lungā€™s tissues become scarred and weakened. The end result is poorly functioning lungs, shortness of breath and severe disability.

 

WHAT IS THE TREATMENT FOR SARCOIDOSIS?

Physicians cannot cure Sarcoidosis outright but they can treat the symptoms of the disease.

Drugs called corticosteroids are the most common treatment used in fighting Sarcoidosis. However, corticosteroid treatment has multiple side effects and may fail to adequately alter the disease course.

Other drugs that have also been used with varying success to treat Sarcoidosis include methotrexate, cyclophosphamide, retinoids, hydroxychloroquine, and thalidomide. These drugs also have side effects.

New and more effective treatments need to be developed through medical research to control, or perhaps even cure Sarcoidosis.

 

DISCLAIMER: National Sarcoidosis Society does not promote, endorse or encourage participation in any specific organization. Details are provided for information ONLY and is subject to change without notice.  Every effort is made to ensure that the details are as current as possible.  This information is not intended to diagnose, prescribe for, treat, or claim to prevent, mitigate or cure any diseases.   You should consult with your physician.