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more about Sarcoidosis

  • Sarcoidosis is characterized by an abnormal collection of cells (non-caseating granulomas) that affect many different organs in the body.  Though the cause is unknown, an abnormality in the functioning of immune system T-cells may be involved.
  • The lungs are affected in ninety percent of all cases.  The disease can also affect the eyes, skin, lymph nodes, and almost any other organ in the body.  Symptoms may develop rapidly during the span of a few weeks, or slowly over time.
  • The disease is most common in women, most notably in African-Americans, Japanese, and those of Irish descent, although it can affect either sex or any race.  In Europe, Sarcoidosis commonly affects whites (especially Scandinavians).

  • May have no symptoms at all
  • Shortness of breath
  • Cough
  • Chest discomfort
  • Fatigue
  • Anorexia
  • Weight loss
  • Enlarged lymph nodes
  • Raised red lesions of the skin
  • Purple skin plaques
  • Blue or purple shiny lesions on the face, fingers, or knees
  • Blurry vision
  • Eye pain from light
  • Nasal stuffiness
  • Facial paralysis
  • Joint pain and stiffness
  • Enlarged glands in front of the ears

  • Blood work shows:
    1. A decreased lymphocyte count and a mildly increased eosinophils
    2. Increased sedimentation rate
    3. Hyperglobulinemia
    4. Elevated Calcium (not commonly seen)
    5. Elevated Angiotensin converting enzyme
  • Other abnormalities may be found depending on the affected organs
  • Elevated blood Alkaline Phosphatase and other liver functions
  • Chest X-Ray shows one of the three following patterns:
    1. Enlarged hilum with normal lung fields
    2. Enlarged hilum with diffuse parenchymal lung infiltrates
    3. Diffuse parenchymal lung infiltrates with a normal hilum
  • Pulmonary function tests show a restrictive pattern and mild hypoxemia (low oxygen levels)
  • Gallium Lung scans are usually abnormal
  • Bronchiolar lavage shows an increased proportion of lymphocytes
  • Biopsy -- may be done on the lung, skin, lymph nodes or other granulomas.
  • Shows non-caseating granulomas
  • Skin tests often show anergy (no reaction).

  • Observation without treatment is common unless the disease or symptoms progress.
  • Glucocorticoids, such as prednisone, are the drugs of choice, and are usually given for four to six weeks, then slowly tapered off during a span of two to three months.
  • Other drugs (e.g., Methotrexate, Plaquenil) may be tried if no response is seen.  A pulmonary specialist typically prescribes the appropriate drugs.

  • This disease has a good prognosis, causing most patients to have a full recovery.
  • About 20 percent of the infected patients develop progressive or intermittent diseases.

more about Sarcoidosis

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