Sarcoidosis is a condition that can alter the structure and possibly the function of the affected organ as well if not tackled early. Sarcoidosis refers to the growth of tiny inflammatory tissues in various parts of the body resulting in symptoms such as symptoms fever, fatigue, weight loss and swollen lymph nodes. Most often, the disease begins in the lungs and then spreads to other organs.
It is still not known clearly what causes this disease, and most often the symptoms may appear and disappear now and then. However, Sarcoidosis can develop gradually in which case it produces certain symptoms that can even stay for a lifetime.
And, based on the organ that has been affected by the disease, the symptoms tend to vary. For example, if it affects the lungs, then symptoms like breathlessness, pain in the chest, persistent dry cough and wheezing become evident. In case it is in the eye, then the symptoms manifest in the form of pain in the eye, light sensitivity, blurred vision, and severe redness.
How is it diagnosed?
Sarcoidosis can be difficult to diagnose as in the initial stages it shows very few symptoms. It can be identified through a series of diagnostic tests that include a biopsy. When trying to diagnose this disease, a doctor may perform various physical examinations such as looking for skin lesions, swelling of the lymph nodes and even listening to the heartbeat and the lungs. There are a variety of tests to determine whether Sarcoidosis is affecting the nervous system, the lungs or any other vital organs. Some of these tests are a chest x-ray, computerized tomography, blood tests, positron emission tomography (PET scan), lung function tests, and MRIs.
What is the course of action?
Usually, medication like immunosuppressive medication and corticosteroids are used as a part of Sarcoidosis treatment. These medicines help in suppressing the immune system while reducing the Sarcoidosis induced inflammation. Depending on the organs that are affected, the severity of the inflammation, as well as the symptoms, the medication and length of treatment may vary. When body parts like the eyes, the heart, the lungs or the nervous system get affected by this disease, one must opt for treatment without delay.
In case Sarcoidosis leads to severe damage to the heart, the liver or the lungs, then transplant through surgery becomes the only option for controlling the disease. When the skin is affected, or Sarcoidosis isn’t responding to any other treatments, hydroxychloroquine and TNF-alpha inhibitors are used for treatment.
This ailment cannot be cured completely. While for some patients, the symptoms can subside by themselves or with treatment, for others it may continue to give trouble for years. This can lead to damage to different organs of the body. Therefore, in case you notice any symptoms, it is necessary to seek medical attention immediately. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!