Sarcoidosis

Sarcoidisis occurs when a specific inflammation causes tiny lumps (or granulomas) to develop on the body’s tissues. It mainly affects the lungs, skin and lymph glands but can affect most organs. When the lumps accumulate within one area of the body, it can affect the way the organ functions.

Sarcoidosis is a rare disease, affecting approximately 19 people in every 100,000 in the UK.

Causes

The cause of sarcoidosis is unknown, although research has linked the condition to the environment and poor immunity.

Symptoms

The symptoms of sarcoidosis include breathlessness, a persistent cough, skin rashes and inflammation of the eyes. More general symptoms include fatigue, weight loss, fever and night sweats.

Diagnosis

There are a number of tests that can aid diagnosis of sarcoidosis. These include a chest X-ray or CT scan to detect evidence of the granulomas in the lungs. Your doctor may also take a biopsy (tissue sample) via a bronchoscopy, where a thin tube is inserted via the nose or throat.

Treatment

In 90% of cases, acute sarcoidosis will go away without treatment being necessary, although painkillers may be needed to alleviate pain or discomfort experienced.

Treatment of chronic (long-term) sarcoidosis usually involves steroids. However, in severe cases of lung fibrosis (scarring), oxygen therapy or lung transplantation may be required. Likewise, a pacemaker may need to be fitted in cases of heart failure.