What is sarcoidosis
While no one knows what causes sarcoidosis, it is associated with increased immune system activity. Also known as sarcoid, it is a condition where cells in your body clump together to make small lumps called granulomas, which infiltrate your organs and lymph nodes. Sarcoidosis is a chronic disease which most commonly affects your lungs, but it can affect any organ in your body.
Symptoms of sarcoidosis
The symptoms of sarcoidosis can vary, depending on which organs are involved. Most patients initially complain of a persistent dry cough, fatigue and shortness of breath. Other symptoms may include:
- Painful joints, bones and muscles
- Painful red lumps on your shins
- Rashes – usually on your upper body
- Red or sore eyes
- Swollen glands in your face, neck, armpits or groin
Causes of sarcoidosis
The cause of sarcoidosis is currently unknown, but we do know it’s related to your immune system behaving in a way it shouldn’t. It can develop gradually and go on to produce symptoms that come and go throughout an individual’s lifetime.
While no specific gene mutation has been shown to cause sarcoidosis, it sometimes runs in families and there may be a genetic tendency to develop sarcoidosis. Sarcoidosis isn’t contagious, so you can’t catch it from someone else like you could a cold or flu.
Treatment of sarcoidosis
There is no cure for sarcoidosis, but the disease may get better on its own over time. Many people with sarcoidosis have mild symptoms and do not require any treatment. Treatment, when it is needed, is given to reduce symptoms and to maintain the proper working order of the affected organs.
Steroids are an effective treatment and good healthy living will also help alleviate the symptoms. Exercise, eating a well-balanced diet, getting enough sleep and having regular check-ups with your general practitioner are all recommended.
Other Sarcoidosis information can be found at Sarcoidosis Lyme Australia, Lung Foundation Australia and Healthdirect Australia.
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