Living With Sarcoidosis by Ben's Friends

Living with Sarcoidosis - Powered by Ben's Friends

Sarcoidosis Basics

#1

Sarcoidosis is a rare condition in which groups of immune cells form lumps, called granulomas, in various organs in the body. Inflammation, which may be triggered by infection or exposure to certain substances, is thought to play a role in the formation of granulomas.

Sarcoidosis can affect any organ. Most often it affects the lungs and lymph nodes in the chest. You may experience fatigue, which is extreme tiredness, or fever, but you may also experience other signs and symptoms depending on the organ that is affected. Your doctor will diagnose sarcoidosis in part by ruling out other diseases that have similar symptoms.

Determining whether treatment is needed and what type depends on your signs and symptoms, which organs are affected, and how well those organs are working. Medicines used to treat sarcoidosis help reduce inflammation or suppress the immune system. Many people recover with few or no long-term problems. Sometimes the disease causes permanent scarring in the affected organs. When scarring happens in the lungs, this is called pulmonary fibrosis.

Many people have general signs and symptoms, such as:

Depression
Fatigue
Fever
Malaise, or a feeling of discomfort or illness
Pain and swelling in the joints
Weight loss
Sarcoidosis most often affects the lungs and the lymph nodes in the chest. Some people with sarcoidosis in the lungs may wheeze, cough, feel short of breath, or have chest pain. However, people with sarcoidosis in the lungs do not always have lung-related symptoms.

If sarcoidosis affects other organs or parts of your body, you may have other symptoms related to those organs:

Abdominal pain
A larger than normal spleen
Anemia
Burning, itchy, or dry eyes
Fainting
Heart palpitations
Joint pain
Muscle weakness
Problems with a liver that is larger than normal, including itching, vomiting, nausea, jaundice, or abdominal pain
Problems with the nervous system, including headache, dizziness, vision problems, seizures, mood swings, disturbed behavior, hallucinations, delusions, back pain, or pain associated with particular nerves
Skin changes, including erythema nodosum or lupus pernio, a condition that causes skin sores that usually affect the face, especially the nose, cheeks, lips, and ears. The sores associated with lupus pernio tend to last a long time. Lupus pernio occurs mostly in African Americans and can return after sarcoidosis treatment is over.
Swelling of the salivary glands
Swollen or tender lymph nodes in other areas of the body besides the chest, such as in your neck, chin, armpits, or groin
The illustration shows some of the signs and symptoms of sarcoidosis and the organs involved, including problems with the nervous system; burning, itching, or dry eyes; swollen salivary glands; swollen lymph nodes in the neck and chest; and granulomas, which are lumps of immune cells often found in the lungs and lymph nodes. Other signs and symptoms in the illustration include coughing, wheezing, or chest pain; a liver that is larger than normal, spleen that is larger than normal; abdominal pain; muscle weakness and joint pain; erythema nodosum; lupus pernio; and skin lesions on the back, arms, neck, face, and scalp. On a close-up view of a cross-section of the lung, the illustration shows swollen lymph nodes in the chest, near the windpipe and lungs; and scarring and granulomas in the lung.
Signs and symptoms of sarcoidosis. The illustration shows some of the signs and symptoms of sarcoidosis and the organs involved, including problems with the nervous system; burning, itching, or dry eyes; swollen salivary glands; swollen lymph nodes in the neck and chest; and granulomas, which are lumps of immune cells often found in the lungs and lymph nodes. Other signs and symptoms in the illustration include coughing, wheezing, or chest pain; a liver that is larger than normal, spleen that is larger than normal; abdominal pain; muscle weakness and joint pain; erythema nodosum; lupus pernio; and skin lesions on the back, arms, neck, face, and scalp. On a close-up view of a cross-section of the lung, the illustration shows swollen lymph nodes in the chest, near the windpipe and lungs; and scarring and granulomas in the lung.