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What is sarcoid disease?

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Quick Answer

Sarcoidosis, also known as sarcoid disease, involves abnormal collections of inflammatory cells. These collections can appear in many organs, most commonly the lymph nodes, lungs, eyes and skin, according to Mayo Clinic.

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Full Answer

Sarcoidosis is caused by the immune system reacting to foreign substances that can be found in the air, water and other things with which people come in contact, notes Mayo Clinic. Generally, patients with sarcoidosis experience fatigue, weight loss, swollen lymph nodes and a fever. Most people experience lung issues, including chest pain, wheezing, shortness of breath and a bad dry cough. A quarter of people with this disease experience skin problems, including a rash, lesions, nodules and discoloured skin. Sarcoidosis may also affect the eyes without causing symptoms, although there may be blurred vision, eye pain, redness and light sensitivity. Symptoms of sarcoidosis may last for years, but the disease usually goes away on its own. Sarcoidosis is not always serious; however, it can damage organs with long-term effects.

Sarcoidosis can be hard to diagnose as it mimics symptoms from other diseases, as Mayo Clinic explains. Doctors may need to run physical examinations, x-rays, CTs, MRIs or PETs, blood tests, lung function tests, and eye examinations in order to diagnose sarcoidosis. Although there is no cure for sarcoidosis, patients may need treatment if organ functions are threatened. These treatments may include corticosteroids, anti-rejection medications, anti-malarial medications, tumor necrosis factor-alpha inhibitors, and a possible organ transplant for a severely damaged organ.

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