Sarcoidosis (say "sar-koy-DOH-sus") is a rare disease that causes tiny lumps of cells throughout the body called granulomas. These lumps are too small to see or feel. They can form anywhere on the inside or outside of the body and can cause permanent scar tissue. They often form in the lungs, lymph nodes, liver, skin, or eyes. Sarcoidosis may affect how an organ works. For instance, if it is in the lungs, you may be short of breath.
For most people, sarcoidosis is a long-term disease that lasts several years or a lifetime. But some cases go away in a few months. Experts have no way of knowing how it will affect you. For some people, the disease may cause no symptoms at all. For others, symptoms may include fever, body aches, swollen lymph glands, shortness of breath, painful joints, and numbness. It may lead to lung or heart problems. Sometimes sarcoidosis can cause high calcium levels in the blood.
Sarcoidosis occurs most often in young and middle-aged adults. Although the cause is not known, the disease does not spread from person to person.
Different types of sarcoidosis have different treatments. Sarcoidosis may require long-term treatment (lasting months to years) with corticosteroids and other medicines, especially if it causes symptoms. You may also need regular tests.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:
Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if you have any problems.
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Current as of: March 25, 2017
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
& E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
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