Doctors are unsure of what causes sarcoidosis, as of late 2015, according to WebMD. Researchers do know that the lung disease is an autoimmune disorder but do not know what triggers the defective immune response that causes the condition. Research is underway to determine how sarcoidosis spreads to other parts of the body.
Sarcoidosis most often affects the lungs and lymph glands, but it can appear in other organs as well, explains WebMD. The inflammatory disease creates nodules or masses called granulomas that can affect the affected organ's function or structure.
Although sarcoidosis cannot be cured, doctors can often treat the symptoms, states WebMD. The most common treatment is an oral corticosteroid, such as prednisone, to relieve the inflammation that creates the granulomas. Doctors recommend that patients eat a healthy diet, exercise, drink plenty of fluids and get enough sleep.
Sarcoidosis often goes away on its own, reports WebMD. Sometimes, it appears briefly with symptoms so mild that patients do not realize they have the disease. Between 20 and 30 percent of patients experience permanent lung damage after a bout of sarcoidosis. In rare cases, sarcoidosis can be fatal. Most fatalities in patients occur from complications affecting the brain, heart or lungs.