Sarcoidosis was identified in the late 1860s. It is an inflammatory disease that affects one or more organs but most commonly affects the lungs and lymph glands. This inflammation produces tiny lumps of cells in various organs in the body. The lumps are called granulomas because they look like grains of sugar or sand. They are the classic sign of sarcoidosis, and as they are very small, they can only be seen with a microscope.
These tiny granulomas can grow and clump together, making small and large groups of lumps. If many granulomas form in an organ, they can change its normal structure and possibly affect how the organ works. Sarcoidosis can affect many organs, but it usually starts in the lungs or the lymph nodes.
The exact cause of sarcoidosis is not known, but researchers believe that it is caused by an abnormal immune response. The disease can appear suddenly and then disappear, or it can develop gradually and produce symptoms that come and go for a lifetime.
While some patients with sarcoidosis may show no signs of the disease, there are many associated symptoms.
- Dry mouth
- Weight loss
- Night sweats
- Swollen and painful joints
- Nasal stuffiness
- Hoarse voice
- Pain in the hands, feet, or other bony areas
- General feeling of ill health
- Reddish bumps or patches on the skin or under the skin
- Shortness of breath
- Cough that won’t go away
- Chest pain
- Red or teary eyes
- Blurred vision
- Neurologic/Nervous System
- Gait problems
- Lymph glands
- Enlarged lymph glands in the chest around the lungs and elsewhere in the body
- Development of abnormal or missed beats (arrhythmias), inflammation of the covering of the heart (pericarditis), or heart failure
- Kidney stones