• April is Sarcoidosis Awareness Month: Facts About Sarcoidosis

    Sarcoidosis is an autoimmune disease that affects a small portion of the population, and not much is known about why it occurs. It's characterized by small clusters that can form in the body as an overactive response from the immune system. The body's immune system attacks healthy cells in the body, and the reason for this response is still unknown. However, there are a few things you should know about this disease.

    Sarcoidosis can afflict different parts of the body, including the eyes, lungs, brain and kidneys.

    The Foundation for Sarcoidosis Research has named April Sarcoidosis Awareness Month, to put some focus on this mysterious disease. Like COPD, the symptoms for sarcoidosis can be very subtle and can either be completely overlooked and go undiagnosed, or mistaken for other conditions. What should you watch out for, and when should you go see a doctor?

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  • Symptoms & Treatments of Sarcoidosis

    Sarcoidosis of the lungs (pulmonary sarcoidosis) often causes a dry cough, mild chest pain, or shortness of breath. Sarcoidosis of the skin and other areas can cause a scaly rash, red bumps on the legs, sore eyes, or swelling and muscle pain.  Other general symptoms may also occur including fatigue, fever, weakness, and weight loss.

    Because these symptoms are common in other diseases as well, sarcoidosis can be difficult to diagnose.  To diagnose it, doctors will generally conduct a physical exam and order lab tests including pulmonary function tests (to test the lung’s abilities), and a lung X-ray.  In the X-ray, the doctor will look for enlarged lymph glands in the chest, which could indicate sarcoidosis.

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  • What is Sarcoidosis?

    Sarcoidosis (pronounced sar-coy-doe-sis) is a diseased caused by small areas of inflammation.  90% of cases are in the lungs (pulmonary sarcoidosis), but it can affect any part of the body including the skin, liver, lymph glands, spleen, eyes, nervous system, muscles, bones, heart, and kidneys.

    Sarcoidosis causes the immune system to overact and damage the body’s own tissues.  It creates clumps of inflamed cells that can interfere with an organ’s normal functions.

    The cause of sarcoidosis is unknown.  It is not contagious and most researchers believe that it is an immune system disorder caused by a failure in the body’s natural defense system.  Others believe that it may be the result of a viral respiratory infection or environmental toxins and allergens.  These triggers generally do not bother most people, but can provoke the immune system to develop inflammation in people prone to sarcoidosis.

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