Sascha Gallardo – April 26, 2023
Did you know that there are diseases that can affect almost any part of the body? One of such diseases is Sarcoidosis, a rare disease that causes growth of granulomas or inflammatory cells in different parts of the body. These include the skin, kidneys, brain, eyes, and the more commonly affected organs, the lungs and the heart.
The exact cause of sarcoidosis is unknown, but experts believe it involves an abnormal autoimmune response. While this condition can affect anyone, African-American females are more frequently impacted.
Interestingly, while some patients with Sarcoidosis can be completely asymptomatic, others may experience severe symptoms that can significantly impact their quality of life. Asymptomatic patients have usually been diagnosed only accidentally when they needed a chest x-ray for a different illness.
For symptomatic patients, the symptoms they experience will depend on which organ is affected. For instance, patients may suffer from uveitis, blurred vision, and eye pain if it affects the eyes. However, patients may also suffer from common symptoms like fatigue, fever, night sweats, weight loss, and swollen lymph nodes regardless of the impacted organ.
In many cases, sarcoidosis goes away on its own without treatment but symptoms can be severe in some cases. For example, if sarcoidosis affects the lungs, it could lead to significant scarring and fibrosis of the lung tissue, making it difficult for the person to breathe and resulting in respiratory failure. Similarly, if sarcoidosis affects the heart, it could lead to heart failure or arrhythmias.
Sarcoidosis can be challenging to diagnose because its symptoms can mimic those of other conditions, and there is no single test that can definitively diagnose the disease. Diagnosis typically involves a combination of tests, including physical examination, blood tests, imaging studies, and biopsies of affected tissues. In some cases, doctors may need to perform multiple tests over time to confirm a diagnosis.
Additionally, because sarcoidosis can affect different organs, it may require the involvement of multiple specialists, such as pulmonologists, dermatologists, and rheumatologists, to diagnose and treat the disease effectively. Early detection of sarcoidosis is also crucial since it allows for timely treatment to manage symptoms and prevent complications. However, it can be challenging to diagnose because the symptoms can be nonspecific and can mimic other conditions, leading to misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis. As a result, patients may undergo multiple tests and evaluations before receiving a correct diagnosis.
Help us spread awareness about Sarcoidosis so that more people will become aware of possible symptoms which can help in diagnosing this disease early. And if you or someone you know is affected by Sarcoidosis, join our free online community called Living with Sarcoidosis Patients Support Community and find people who truly understand what you’re going through.
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