A comprehensive overview of sarcoidosis covering subjects like symptoms, diagnostics, research, causes and pictures
Sarcoidosis - general symptoms
Sarcoidosis symptoms vary greatly depending on the affected organs.
Fever, fatigue, chest pain, malaise, weight loss, and arthralgia may be the first sarcoidosis symptoms that frequently appear. Swollen lymph nodes are common but they do not cause any symptoms.
Sarcoidosis - Lung damage
The most affected organ is lung. At the chest radiography there can seen hilar nodules that have an enlarged volume. Sarcoidosis leads to lung inflammation that eventually leads to scarring and cyst formation, that cause coughing and breathing difficulty. Occasionally a fungus named Aspergillus can colonize cysts that lead to bleeding and hemoptysis. The severe fibrosis of the lung may cause can cause heart failure.
Sarcoidosis - Skin damage
As skin damage, sarcoidosis symptoms include the emergence of numerous types of nodules, ulcers or hypopigmentation areas, most commonly around the eyes, nose, back, arms and scalp. These lesions are pruritic but not painful, and evolve over a long time.
The nodules that appear as sarcoidosis symptoms may also be warm, soft, red or purple swollen. This condition of the skin is also called erythema nodosum. Beside nodules patients may present fever, joint swelling and artralgy. Nodules are a sign of onset of sarcoidosis, they disappear in a few weeks or months, even without treatment.
Skin ulcers affect the nose, nasal passages, cheeks, ears, eyelids and fingers. They are called pernio lupus, and evolve into spikes even with treatment.
Sarcoidosis symptoms - eye damage
It occurs in 15% of cases. The inflammation of certain internal structures of the eye, uveitis, determine eye redness and pain, which interfere with the normal eye sight. The inflammation that persists for a long time causes glaucoma, and the loss of the patient's eye sight. The granuloms can be formed in the conjunctivitis and they do not cause symptoms. Some people complain of ulcers, pain and dry eyes. Other sarcoidosis symptoms observed are: burning sensation, tearing, photophobia, spots in the visual field, reduced color vision, blurred vision.
Cardiac sarcoidosis symptoms:
Muscle and joint damage include:
Arthritis can take months or even years.
Spleen and liver damage
70% of patients show liver granuloms as sarcoidosis symptoms. These granuloms usually do not produce any sarcoidosis symptoms; the liver appears to work normally.10% of the patients show signs of hepatomegaly.
Cranial nerves may be affected, determining double vision and unilateral paresis of the face. If the pituitary is involved insipidus diabetes develops, produces vasopressin, a hormone that helps the kidneys to concentrate urine, frequent urination associated absence, increased quantity and polydipsia.
Other tissues affected
Include parotid gland and other salivary glands: dry mouth and excessive salivation.
Sarcoidosis symptoms include inflammation that produces masses of cells in different organs. These are called granulomas because they look like grains of sand or sugar. They are very small and they are gathered in masses that can be seen only with a microscope. These granulomas form stacks of different forms and sizes. If too many masses form in one organ they can affect its function.Tissues most often affected by sarcoidosis are the lungs, lymph nodes, eyes, skin, liver and spleen.
The cause of sarcoidosis is uncertain; it may be triggered by an infection or an abnormal response of the immune system. The heredity can play a significant role. The disease develops between 20 and 40 years and it is more common in Scandinavians and Afro-Americans.
It is characterized by the presence of inflammatory cells in piles located in different organs. It develops primarily in the lungs, can evolve towards degeneration and sclerosis. Many people have no symptoms and the disease is discovered in a radiological control. The disease's course is variable from asymptomatic, minor or severe symptoms and death. Treatment includes corticosteroids, immunosuppressant, radiation and surgery for skin lesions.