Chest | Pulmonology | Sarcoidosis (Disease)
Sarcoidosis is an auto immune disease characterized by the development and growth of tiny clumps of inflammatory cells in different areas of the body. These clumps of inflammation are called granulomas. The sarcoid granulomas can affect any part of the body with the most common being the lungs, lymph nodes, eyes and skin.
Symptoms of sarcoidosis can vary from person to person depending on the severity of the disease and which organ is affected. Although the defining characteristics are thus histopathological, diagnosis during life depends largely upon clinical, radiological, and immunological findings.
Causes and Risk factors
Sarcoidosis is a disease caused by small areas of inflammation. It can affect any part of the body but is most common in the lungs—called pulmonary sarcoidosis. In pulmonary sarcoidosis, small patches of inflamed cells can appear on the lungs small air sacs (alveoli), breathing tubes (bronchioles) or lymph nodes.
The lungs can become stiff and may not be able to hold as much air as healthy lungs. In serious cases, sarcoidosis can cause scar tissue in the lungs, which can affect the lungs ability to move oxygen into the bloodstream. About half of all people with sarcoidosis have no symptoms and are diagnosed when they have an X-ray for other reasons.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Drug treatments are used to relieve symptoms, reduce the inflammation of the affected tissues, reduce the impact of granuloma development, and prevent the development of lung fibrosis and other irreversible organ damage. Corticosteroids are particularly effective in reducing inflammation, and are typically the first drugs used in treating sarcoidosis. The oral corticosteroid prednisone is the most commonly used corticosteroid.