Sarcoidosis is an inflammatory disease where immune system cells cluster to form lumps called granulomas in various organs in the body, most commonly the lungs, lymph nodes, eyes and skin. If many granulomas form in an organ, they can affect how the organ works. There is no established cause of sarcoidosis, but researchers believe it results from the body’s immune system responding to a foreign substance, possibly something that is inhaled from the air. Genetics also may play a role in sarcoidosis (HLA gene), and it is more common in African-Americans than Caucasians. There is currently no cure for sarcoidosis.
Signs and symptoms vary depending on which organs are affected. Many people who have sarcoidosis have no signs or symptoms or mild ones. Common symptoms include coughing, shortness of breath, chest pain, fatigue, night sweats, enlarged lymph nodes and weight loss. Lofgren’s syndrome is a typical presentation of sacroidosis that occurs when people first get sarcoidosis. It is characterized by fever, enlarged lymph nodes, arthritis (usually in the ankles), and/or erythema nodosum (a rash of red or reddish-purple bumps on your ankles and shins.)
Treatment for sarcoidosis varies depending on which organs are affected, but include topical treatments, corticosteroids, immunosuppressants and TNF-alpha inhibitors. Not everyone who has sarcoidosis needs treatment. Sarcoidosis patients may cycle through periods of disease activity and remission. Rarely, sarcoidosis can be fatal and is usually is the result of problems with the lungs, heart, or brain.