Sarcoidosis

What is sarcoidosis? Sarcoidosis is an inflammatory disease that usually affects the lungs and lymph notes but can be present in numerous bodily organs. Those who have sarcoidosis suffer from a type of inflammation consisting of abnormal nodules or masses called granulomas forming in organ tissue, possibly preventing the organs from working properly. While the questions, “What is sarcoidosis?” is easy enough to answer, “What causes sarcoidosis?” is more complicated, as according to MedicineNet.com, doctors don’t know what leads to this disease, which often appears out of nowhere and disappears just as fast.

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What is sarcoidosis? Sarcoidosis is a disease that causes inflammation, simply put, and it’s a sign something is wrong with the immune system, which generally defends the body from harmful substances. A properly functioning immune system attacks foreign substances via inflammation, but in people stricken with sarcoidosis, inflammation doesn’t stop once the threat has been mitigated, and instead, granulomas, or lumps of inflamed cells, form in various places of the body, most likely the lungs or lymph nodes. Sarcoidosis can also manifest itself in the eyes and liver, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), and in some cases, it affects the heart and brain, “leading to serious complications?”

“What are the symptoms of sarcoidosis?” one might ask next. Sarcoidosis’ symptoms vary, since the inflammatory disease can affect numerous organs, but the first things sufferers often complain of are shortness of breath, fatigue and a persistent dry cough. Later, sarcoidosis patients may develop red bumps or patches on the skin, red eyes and blurred vision, swollen joints, enlarged and/or tender lymph nodes, and pain the hands and feet, thanks to cysts that form in bony areas of the body. Sarcoidosis symptoms may also include kidney stones, enlarged liver, and various defects of the nervous system, including seizures, hearing loss, and meningitis, according to WebMd.

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What is sarcoidosis? This inflammatory disease with unknown causes and vague symptoms may seem like a real drag, but on the bright side, the prognosis can be very good. “The outlook for sarcoidosis varies,” writes the NHLBI. “Many people recover from the disease with few or no long-term problems.” Sarcoidosis causes organ damage in about a third of patients, but it’s rarely fatal, and those who die from the disease tend to have cases involving the heart, lungs, or brain.

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