Sarcoidosis: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatments

Sarcoidosis is an inflammatory condition that affects multiple organs.

sarcoidosis

Sarcoidosis happens when multiple organs become inflamed all at the same time. These organs usually include lungs and lymph nodes in the chest. Sarcoidosis is known for forming a rare occurrence: immune cells clumping all together to form what is known as granulomas. These granulomas found in sarcoidosis are often triggered by an infection due to a foreign substance. Some of these foreign substances include fungal infections which are commonly found in unclean areas or mycobacterial infections.

Often times, we hear about Sarcoidosis as usually the common disease on medical soap operas or series. However, the disease is a little more complex than what is shown. Sarcoidosis doesn’t just focus on a single organ but it can spread to the other organs in the body. Because of this, tracking down Sarcoidosis may be a little more complicated than what most people think.

Sarcoidosis Causes

Sarcoidosis is normally caused by the infection of a foreign substance. What happens is when the patient goes through an X-Ray, sarcoidosis can be detected through the lungs. However, sometimes the sarcoidosis can also appear in other places such as the liver, the neck, armpits, or the groin. Although, this only occurs in rare occasions. This can be seen by tracking what sarcoidosis creates: a granuloma. The granuloma are a defensive mechanism which “walls off” foreign bodies from infecting the body any further. Often times, these infections usually include fungal bacterial or mycobacterial infections.

Sarcoidosis Symptoms

Being a result of an immune system response, sarcoidosis has a variety of symptoms that people can take note of. Some of these symptoms are often prominently found in the lymph nodes. Other symptoms include:

  • Fatigue: Because sarcoidosis is a disease that fights off an infection, the fatigue becomes more prominent.
  • Fever: Fever is a common symptom when the body is fighting off the infection. Fever can also usher in a variety of other symptoms such as loss of appetite, nausea, and dizziness.
  • Weight loss: This is commonly caused by the fever as the fever drains a lot of energy to fight off the infection.
  • Swollen lymph nodes: The lymph nodes are often the common indicator that one has sarcoidosis. Because lymph nodes are commonly associated with the immune system, they swell up in order to show that there is an infection.
  • Dry cough: This serves as a common sign of a throat infection.
  • Enlarged liver – The liver being the organ that can regenerate becomes swollen when there’s an infection. As the liver is also in charge of releasing certain hormones, it will also end up overworking itself which causes it to swell.
  • Kidney stone formation: This is when the kidney starts to malfunction and it starts to lose its ability to filter substances properly. Kidney stones form either via crystallization or calcification through uric acid, oxalate, or calcium. When this happens, it means that the body is not producing the right chemical to prevent the crystals from forming. This occurs usually when there’s an infection or a tumor.
  • Red, teary eyes or blurred vision: Along with the fever, the red teary eyes is the body’s way of removing the infection through sweats and liquid. The blurred vision accompanies nausea as the body is trying to compensate by fighting off the infection but at the same time trying to do normal activities.
  • Swollen or painful joints: This usually occurs along with the fever as the body increases in heat. The joints are not used to operating under such temperature and accompanied by the fatigue creates joint pain.

Treatments for Sarcoidosis

There are no exact treatments for sarcoidosis. Because sarcoidosis only appears when there’s another infection, medical practitioners prefer to seek the source of the infection rather than treat the sarcoidosis. Sarcoidosis only appears through an X-Ray, often times if one is looking for another form of infection.

However, sarcoidosis in itself usually just fades away as the doctors treat the infection causing the sarcoidosis. At times, they also address more the symptoms of the sarcoidosis to make sure the body doesn’t antagonize any of the incoming medicines. Since sarcoidosis is more of a prelude disease, doctors would be scrambling more on how to cure the disease that’s triggering the sarcoidosis.

sarcoidosis

Sources:
  • Baughman, R. P., Teirstein, A. S., Judson, M. A., Rossman, M. D., Yeager Jr, H., Bresnitz, E. A., … & Mclennan, G. (2001). Clinical characteristics of patients in a case control study of sarcoidosis. American journal of respiratory and critical care medicine, 164(10), 1885-1889.
  • Baughman, R. P., Drent, M., Kavuru, M., Judson, M. A., Costabel, U., Du Bois, R., … & Müller-Quernheim, J. (2006). Infliximab therapy in patients with chronic sarcoidosis and pulmonary involvement. American journal of respiratory and critical care medicine, 174(7), 795-802.
  • Rybicki, B. A., Major, M., Popovich Jr, J., Maliank, M. J., & lannuzzi, M. C. (1997). Racial differences in sarcoidosis incidence: a 5-year study in a health maintenance organization. American journal of epidemiology, 145(3), 234-241.

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