Sarcoidosis is an autoimmune disease (your body overreacts to something naturally occurring in your body) causing cells to group together in your body creating granulomas. Sarcoidosis most commonly occurs in the lungs and lymph nodes, but can occur in any organ of your body and can interfere with that organ’s function.
Those over age 20 and women more commonly develop Sarcoidosis though many with the condition do not know they have it because they do not have symptoms. Those with symptoms may experience cough, shortness of breath, night sweats, feeling tired, skin rashes or bumps, joint pain or swelling, changes in eye sight and irritation, abnormal liver function and kidney stones.
Diagnosis of Sarcoidosis is made through evaluation of tissue in the effected organ (biopsy). If an individual has an abnormal chest x-ray or CT of the chest, a bronchoscopy may be ordered and biopsy performed. For individuals with skin involvement, a biopsy may be recommended of the affected area to diagnose Sarcoidosis. Once Sarcoidosis is identified, your physician will order testing to evaluate your other organs for involvement as well.
Treatment of Sarcoidosis is typically aimed at calming your immune system to avoid further development of granulomas. Oral forms of steroids or immune suppressants may be recommended to manage your symptoms. Other treatments to treat your effected organs may also be recommended.