Sarcoidosis (say "sar-koy-DOH-sus") is a rare disease that creates tiny lumps of cells throughout the body. These lumps, called granulomas, are too small to see or feel. They can form anywhere on the inside or outside of the body and can cause permanent scar tissue. They often form in the lungs, lymph nodes, liver, skin, or eyes.
Sarcoidosis may affect how an organ works. For instance, if it's in your lungs, you may be short of breath.
For every 10 people who get sarcoidosis, 2 or 3 will have permanent lung damage. A small number of people may end up with chronic sarcoidosis, which can last for years.1
Recommended Related to Lung Disease/Respiratory Problems
If your doctor suspects sarcoidosis, he or she will do the following:
Review your medical history
Perform a physical exam
Order chest X-rays and blood tests that may aid in the diagnosis
In 90% of people with sarcoidosis, chest X-rays show abnormalities. Many patients also have a low white blood cell count. Your doctor may also order pulmonary-function tests, which measure how well your lungs are working. Tissue biopsies (tests on small tissue samples) from your lungs may be done to...
No one can predict how sarcoidosis might affect you. Some people don't have any symptoms at all. For more than half of the people who get it, sarcoidosis appears just for a short time and then heals itself—without any treatment.
What causes sarcoidosis?
No one knows for sure what causes sarcoidosis.
Medical experts say that sarcoidosis is most likely a disease of the body's immune system.
It might also be a respiratory infection that happens when someone with certain genes comes into contact with things in the environment, like bacteria, viruses, chemicals, toxins, or allergens.
Young and middle-aged adults are the most likely to get sarcoidosis, but you can get it at any age. The disease doesn't spread from person to person.
What are the symptoms?
For some people, sarcoidosis may cause no symptoms at all. For others, it can cause a variety of symptoms depending on which part of the body or which organs it affects. Some of the most common symptoms include: