Medical Q&As

Sarcoidosis - symptoms?

I am in my late forties and have recently been diagnosed with sarcoidosis. I have been told there is no specific treatment but am taking anti-inflammatory medication at present. There is very little information available on this disease. I have been told it should clear in about 2 years. What symptoms can I expect during that time?

Sarcoidosis usually occurs between thirty and fifty years old. It is very rare in childhood and adolescence. Most people with the disease are not seriously affected and the disease usually resolves within a couple of years without medical treatment. It is quite possible that you won’t have any additional symptoms other than the ones you initially presented with. Since you have asked a specific question about symptoms I will simply list the common symptoms that can occur. The list includes: general malaise, fever, cough, erythema nodosum (a distinctive rash on the shins), enlarged lymph glands, weight loss, shortness of breath, headache, fatigue, enlarged liver, enlarged spleen, visual disturbance and neurological changes. It must be stressed that the symptom pattern is unique for each individual and the presentation of the disease can consist of various permutations of the previously listed symptoms. Some people may be mildly affected by a particular symptom such as fatigue whereas others could be very sore from the effects of erythema nodosum. Many people with sarcoidosis display a characteristic sign of the disease on chest X ray, which is referred to as hilar adenopathy. That technical term means that the lymph glands at the centre of the chest are enlarged and cause a shadowing effect on the X ray. Less than 20% of those with lung signs have persistent long-term respiratory effects. One major point that I would like to stress is that if you are a cigarette smoker you should get help in trying to stop smoking because smoking is potentially very harmful if the lungs are affected by sarcoidosis. You can learn more about the disease by following this link: http://www.irishhealth.com/index.html?level=4&id=1988