Sarcoidosis

Definition

Sarcoidosis is an inflammatory disease that may affect many different parts of the body. Small round spots, called granulomas, form in various organs. The spots slow down normal functioning of those organs.

Causes

The cause of sarcoidosis is not known. It seems to be related to malfunctioning of the immune system. The disease may be triggered by an infection or exposure to a toxin in the environment.Some people may be more susceptible to sarcoidosis due to genetic or environmental factors.

Risk Factors

Factors that may increase your chance of sarcoidosis include:
  • Age: 20 to 40
  • Sex: female
  • Ethnic descent: African-American, Northern European, Scandinavian, and Irish

Symptoms

Symptoms vary and can occur in different parts of the body, depending on where the granulomas form. Most symptoms develop in the lungs, skin, eyes, and liver. Multiple body systems may be affected. Symptoms may come and go. This disease is often acute, but in some people, it is chronic.Symptoms may include:
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing
  • Chest pain
  • Rash
  • Fever
  • Pain or irritation of eyes
  • Fatigue, especially with exertion
  • Muscle weakness
  • Night sweats
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Seizures
  • Tremors
  • Difficulty hearing
  • Blurred vision or blindness
  • Poor coordination
  • Trouble walking
  • Irregular heart rate
  • Pain, swelling, and stiffness in the joints
  • Facial paralysis known as Bell's Palsy
Bell's Palsy
Facial droop and nerves
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Diagnosis

The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. An eye exam may also be done. There is no specific lab test that confirms a diagnosis of sarcoidosis. Instead, the diagnosis is made based on symptoms and medical tests that are usually positive in those with this condition.Your bodily fluids and tissues may be tested. This can be done with:
  • Blood tests
  • Urine tests
  • Biopsy
Imaging tests evaluate bodily structures. These may include: Your heart activity may be tested. This can be done with an electrocardiogram (EKG). Your lung function may be tested. This can be done with pulmonary function tests (PFTs).

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