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What is Sarcoidosis?

Sarcoidosis is a condition in which abnormal masses (called granulomas) of inflamed tissue form in parts of the body. It can affect different parts of the body, but appears most commonly in the lungs and lymph glands. Sarcoidosis can also affect the skin, eyes, nose and other body parts.

Some patients may never know they have sarcoidosis because it goes away before they ever have symptoms.

Symptoms & Diagnosis

Symptoms of sarcoidosis depend on which body part is affected. Often the symptoms are mild and go away on their own, but sometimes sarcoidosis develops over time and symptoms can last for years. Some patients have no symptoms.

General symptoms of sarcoidosis include:

  • Tiredness or weakness
  • Fever
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Weight loss

Symptoms of lung sarcoidosis include:

  • Persistent cough
  • Wheezing or trouble breathing
  • Chest pain

Symptoms of skin sarcoidosis include:

  • Tender rash or painful bumps on the skin, often near the ankles, lower legs
  • Sores or lesions on the nose, cheeks or ears
  • Bumps or nodules under the skin, especially near scars or tattoos
  • Darkening or lightening of skin color

The rash and bumps may go away completely, or in some cases, they may leave a scar.

Sometimes, sarcoidosis causes no symptoms even though it is damaging certain organs. For this reason, people with sarcoidosis may need to have tests to check for organ damage.

Your doctor or nurse will examine you, consider all your symptoms and then may order one or more of the following:

  • X-rays, a chest X-ray looking for Hilar adenopathy
  • CT scan to view your organs better
  • Lab test called an angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) test
  • Tissue biopsy—of skin or lymph nodes
  • Tests that can rule out other causes of your symptoms

Sarcoidosis is an autoimmune disorder with no cure. Your doctor will discuss possible ways to treat your symptoms. Because sarcoidosis can affect your organs (lungs, heart, eyes, etc.) it’s important to take good care of your whole body and follow your doctor’s instructions.

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