What is sarcoidosis?
Sarcoidosis is a disease characterized by accumulations of abnornal tissues in different organs. Those tissue accumulations are called granulomas. If they are large enough, they can cause an organ malfuntion or failure. For instance, in the lungs they can cause chronic respiratory failure. In general, sarcoidosis can affect many organs but most commonly affects lungs, lumph nodes skin, eyes and nose.
What are the symptoms of sarcoidosis?
Those depend on what organ or organs are affected. Usually, symptoms are mild and improve automatically. When lungs are affected by sarcoidosis symptoms could be the following:
- Chest pain
- Fatigue, muscle weakness
- Weight loss
In cases where sarcoidosis affects skin, there can be a mild rash. There are cases where sarcoidosis can be completely asymptomatic, despite the presence of granulomas in different organs.
How can I know if I suffer from sarcoidosis?
Unfortunately, there is no a unique “magic” test to diagnose sarcoidosis. Your doctor may ask the following:
- Medical history and clinical exam
- Imaging testing (CXR, CT-scan)
- Tissue biopsy
- Other tests to exclude other common diseases.
What is the treatment of sarcoidosis?
Since the cause of sarcoidosis is still unknown, there is not any specific treatement to cure the disease. Despite that, there are many therapeutic options for the associated symptoms.
Corticosteroids can help in symptoms reduction and prevent further deterioration. In addition to per os medication, patients may use corticosteroids in different preparations (cream, drops, inhaler etc). Of course, corticosteroids can cause side effects ie weight gain, oedema, diabetes, osteopororis etc. This is the reason why your doctor will prescribe you corticosteroids only if it is needed. Some other medications can also be used in cases where corticosteroids are contraindicated or not effective.