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Understanding Sarcoidosis -- Diagnosis and Treatment

Reviewed by Sabrina Felson, MD on April 22, 2021

How Do I Know If I Have Sarcoidosis?

If your doctor suspects sarcoidosis, they 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.Bloodwork cannot be used to diagnose sarcoidosis, but you may see a low white count (5% - 10%), high calcium in the blood or urine, and elevated ACE (angiotensin converting enzyme) levels and inflammatory markers. 

Your doctor may also order pulmonary-function tests, which measure how well your lungs are working. If the symptoms are severe enough, your doctor will likely recommend a tissue biopsy. They will be looking for non-necrotizing granulomas (clumps of immune cells), or other diseases, which which may resemble sarcoidosis on a chest X-ray.

What Are the Treatments for Sarcoidosis?

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 reducing inflammation, which may 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.

How Can I Prevent Sarcoidosis?

There is no known way to prevent sarcoidosis.

WebMD Medical Reference

Sources

SOURCES: 

National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. 

Norman T. Soskel, MD, Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine. Memphis, Tenn. 

American Lung Association.

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