Sarcoidosis: Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

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Sarcoidosis is the buildup of inflammatory cells throughout the body. The cells can occur on organs or tissues. They most commonly are found on the lymph nodes, eyes, lungs, and skin.

There is no cure for the disease, but it can be treated. Those who have this disease can live normal lives with the proper treatment. It can clear up in a few weeks, or it can last for years. In severe cases or cases where it has been left untreated, organ damage can occur.

Sarcoidosis Causes

The cause of sarcoidosis is unknown. It is believed to be caused by the body’s response to a foreign object in the body, likely something that has been breathed in through the nose or mouth. Bacteria, viruses, dust, or chemicals could trigger it. Doctors also believe that some people have genetic predisposition for the disease.

Sarcoidosis Symptoms

The symptoms of sarcoidosis can vary. They often depend on the organ or part of the body that is affected by the disease. Some of the most common symptoms of sarcoidosis include:

Sarcoidosis Diagnosis

Sarcoidosis can sometimes be hard to diagnose because there are truly little signs or symptoms in the early stages of the disease. In many cases, doctors have to rule out other disorders and diseases to confirm a diagnosis of sarcoidosis. Some of the tests they use include:

  • Physical Exam: The doctor will look at the patient’s overall health to rule out other problems.
  • Chest X-Rays: Chest x-rays can show the doctor if there is sarcoidosis on the lungs.
  • Computerized Tomography: This allows doctors to look inside the body and get clear images of the organs.
  • Positron Emission Tomography: This allows doctors to see if the sarcoidosis is affecting the heart or nervous system.
  • MRI: MRIs allow doctors to look inside the body to check the organs for sarcoidosis.
  • Blood Tests: Blood test help doctors rule out infections and parasites and check for other abnormalities.
  • Lung Function Tests: These help doctors determine if the sarcoidosis is affecting the lungs.
  • Eye Exam: This allows doctors to see if the sarcoidosis has affected the patient’s vision.
  • Biopsies: Doctors can take samples of the organs or tissue and test the cells to confirm sarcoidosis.

Sarcoidosis Treatment

The treatment for sarcoidosis often depends on the location of the cells, the overall health of the patient, and the severity of the disease. Some of the most common treatments include:

Sarcoidosis Prognosis

Sarcoidosis is not usually fatal, and the prognosis is good with the right treatment. In most cases, it goes away without treatment and only lasts between 24 to 36 months. If left untreated, sarcoidosis is only fatal in about 5 percent of cases. Failure to seek treatment can also result in liver damage, which can cause further complications and health problems.