What is sarcoidosis: symptoms and treatments

Sarcoidosis is a disease in which abnormal collections of inflammatory cells called granulomas. It can affect many organs, but mostly occurs in the lungs and lymph nodes.

Patients with sarcoidosis they often cough and have difficulty breathing. However, symptoms may vary depending on which organs are damaged.

Sarcoidosis can be the result of an infection. Although it can also appear due to an abnormal immune system response. Usually, this disease appears between 20 and 40 years of age. It also almost always occurs during the winter or early spring.

symptoms of sarcoidosis

symptoms of sarcoidosis vary according to the site involved and the extent of the disease. They also depend on the age and gender of the patient.

Some of general symptoms are fever, tiredness, malaise, indefinite chest pain, loss of appetite and joint pain. However, depending on the location there are specific symptoms, which we explain below.


Sarcoidosis affects the lungs.
The lungs are among the organs most affected by this disease.

A chest X-ray will show the swollen lymph nodes in the lung area near the heart. If the condition is severe, the lung eventually overloads the right side of the heart, causing right heart failure.

Sarcoidosis on the skin

When sarcoidosis affects the skin, a red rash on shins. It is usually accompanied by fever and joint pain.

liver and spleen

A high percentage of people with sarcoidosis have granulomas in their liver.. However, people with the condition in these organs usually have no symptoms. Because of this, the liver appears to be functioning normally, but blood tests will provide information about the degree of liver involvement.


If sarcoidosis affects the eyes, is produced localized redness and pain. Additionally, prolonged inflammation ends up blocking the drainage of fluid within the eye, which can cause glaucoma.


Granulomas that form in the heart can lead to palpitations, dizziness or heart failure.

Joints and muscles in sarcoidosis

Sarcoid inflammation causes widespread pain in the joints. The most affected are usually those of the wrists, elbows, knees and ankles.

Nervous system

In some cases, sarcoidosis damages the cranial nerves. When this occurs, symptoms such as double vision, hearing loss, and partial paralysis of the face may appear.

Increase your calcium levels

Also It can increase calcium levels in blood and urine. This is because granulomas produce activated vitamin D, which improves calcium absorption.

High levels of calcium cause loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, thirst and excessive urination. However, if high calcium levels are maintained, kidney stones may form. This can end up causing chronic kidney disease.

Treatment of sarcoidosis

Most people with sarcoidosis don’t need treatment.. However, if necessary, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs may be given to relieve pain and fever.

Corticosteroid drugs: treatment of choice in sarcoidosis

Sarcoidosis can be treated.
Steroids can be very effective, although the list of adverse effects is long.

Corticosteroids are used to treat sarcoidosis which causes choking symptoms, joint or chest pain, and fever. They are also administered in the presence of high calcium levels and disfiguring skin lesions. But they are also used if there is involvement of liver, heart and nervous system function.

Corticosteroids control the symptoms and tissue damage caused by sarcoidosis well. However, they cannot prevent pulmonary fibrosis.


around 10% of people with sarcoidosis do not respond to corticosteroid treatment alone. In these cases, the administration of methotrexate is used. In some cases, if corticosteroids are not effective or cause troublesome side effects, Immunosuppressive drugs are given.

Some of these drugs are azathioprine, chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine and infliximab. Hydroxychloroquine is useful in the treatment of disfiguring skin lesions. It is also useful when there are high levels of calcium in the blood.

Moreover, it can also be effective when there is painful swollen lymph nodes. On the other hand, if the organ affected by sarcoidosis is the heart, the person may need a pacemaker.

A complex disease

As you have been able to observe throughout the article, sarcoidosis is characterized by its wide variety of symptoms, many of which are non-specific. For this reason it is not strange that it is a diagnosis of exclusionas doctors usually do not suspect this disease as the first possibility.

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