What is Sarcoidosis?
Sarcoidosis belongs to a category of diseases known as connective tissue disorders.
Connective tissue is found in the structure of every organ and is the material
that binds together the other tissues in the organ. It usually strikes first
in the lungs, although many other organs of the body such as heart, liver, pancreas,
spleen, skin and nervous system may also be affected. The most susceptible group
of people are those aged between 20 and 50, and the disease strikes men and
What causes it?
The cause of sarcoidosis is unknown, although it is thought to be connected
to environmental factors. The possibility of a hereditary link has also been
What are the symptoms?
The detection of sarcoidosis can often be very difficult, as there are no specific
symptoms. Patients may complain of feeling breathless and may have a sudden
unexplained weight loss. They may also experience pain in their joints, sore
spots on the surface of the skin and recurring infections of the iris in the
The most straightforward form of sarcoidosis involves the lungs where a characteristic
X-ray pattern may be revealed. Given the wide variety of systems in the body
that can be affected the clinical pattern can be very variable. Sometimes extensive
investigation may be required to establish the diagnosis.
Is there a cure?
While some people who develop sarcoidosis will make a full recovery within two years
of the onset of the disease, with no permanent damage to their health, many may experience greater impairment and may suffer long
term breathing difficulties.
There is no specific treatment available for sarcoidosis and indeed no treatment
may be necessary. The treatment given depends on which organs are affected and
the degree to which those organs are affected. Steroids may be prescribed in
some instances particularly in the case of lung impairment.
Are there any self-help remedies?
It is most important that people with sarcoidosis refrain from smoking.
"Smoking is very harmful if the lungs are affected by sarcoidosis".
Inhaling dust and other fumes from the atmosphere will also make the symptoms
of sarcoidosis worse, so try to avoid these as much as possible. Take regular
exercise in the open air and try to avoid spending too much time indoors in
a hot, stuffy atmosphere.
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