Understanding Sarcoidosis -- Diagnosis and Treatment
How Do I Know If I Have Sarcoidosis?
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 look for other diseases, such as fungal infection or lymphoma (cancer of the lymph system), which may resemble sarcoidosis on a chest X-ray.
Recommended Related to Lung Disease/Respiratory Problems
A lung transplant is an effective treatment for disease that has destroyed most of the lungs’ function. For people with severe lung disease, a transplant can bring back easier breathing and provide years of life. However, lung transplant surgery has major risks and complications are common.
Many people with sarcoidosis have mild symptoms and do not require any treatment. Often, the disease gets better on its own. However, for patients with more pronounced symptoms, corticosteroid drugs, such as prednisone, or other immunosuppressive medications, are the recommended therapy. The main goals of treatment are to keep the patient comfortable by reducing symptoms and to maintain proper functioning of any affected organs. At this time, there is no treatment available to reverse the pulmonary fibrosis (scarring in the lungs) that may accompany severe sarcoidosis.