Sarcoidosis – Symptoms and Treatment

When a foreign substance invades you body, the immune system of the body responds by secreting chemicals and recruiting specialized cells to isolate and eliminate the harmful substances from the body. Inflammation is a positive response of the immune cells engaged in the task of annihilation of harmful substances.

Occasionally, the immune system acts in a strange manner, producing faulty immune signals that produce inflammations even in the absence of a foreign substance. Sarcoidosis is one such ailment characterized by lumps in different parts of the body. This disease affects multiple organs of the body including the lungs, skin, eyes and lymph nodes. Usually sarcoidosis heals naturally. Occasionally it is a lifelong condition.

Causes of sarcoidosis
The exact factor responsible for this condition is unknown. Genetics might play a role in the development of sarcoidosis. Although sarcoidosis could affect any person irrespective of race and ethnicity, people of certain ethnic groups have a greater risk of developing this condition. People of Asian, Irish, Scandinavian, German and Irish origin are most vulnerable to this disease. In US, African Americans are more susceptible to this condition than the Caucasians. Rarely sarcoidosis occurs during childhood. Most patients of sarcoidosis are adults between 20 and 40 years of age.

Symptoms of sarcoidosis
The symptoms of sarcoidosis differ from person to person. People with mild sarcoidosis experience few symptoms of the illness, whereas severe sarcoidosis produces several symptoms of the disease. Common symptoms of sarcoidosis include appearance of small bumps on the face, buttock and arms, cough, fever, weight loss, fatigue, shortness of breath, watery eyes and joint pain. The lumps associated with sarcoidosis are known as granulomas. They comprise of a cluster of immune cells. In severe incidences of sarcoidosis, the granulomas damage tissues. Chronic sarcoidosis could cause pulmonary fibrosis, eye diseases including glaucoma, cataract and even blindness, heart, liver and skin problems, infertility and neurological disorder.

Treatment of sarcoidosis
Mild sarcoidosis usually does not require any treatment. However, corticosteroids might be needed for treating chronic sarcoidosis, especially if it affects the lungs, eyes, heart, kidneys and the nervous system. People with sarcoidosis should protect their lungs from toxins, dust and pollutants. Rarely people with sarcoidosis are advised to reduce intake of calcium rich foods, if the calcium content in their blood is high. They should stay away from sunlight and vitamin D rich foods.