Sarcoidosis - Symptoms & Treatment
Sarcoidosis (also called sarcoid or Besnier-Boeck disease ) is an immune system disorder characterised by non-necrotising granulomas. Sarcoidosis can occur in almost any part of your body, although it usually affects some organs more than others. It is generally a chronic disease, lasting for several years or a lifetime. Some people, however, may have a type that only lasts a few months. The etiology of sarcoidosis is unknown, but several immune aberrations have been noted and are thought to play a role in its pathogenesis. Although sarcoidosis can appear at any age, a bimodal age distribution is seen, which peaks between ages 25-35 and 45-65 years. Very small clusters of inflammation, called granulomas, are seen with sarcoidosis. They may occur in the lungs, lymph nodes, eyes, skin or any area of the body. As sarcoidosis progresses, small lumps, or granulomas, appear in the affected tissues. Doctors believe sarcoidosis results from an abnormal immune response. But just what triggers this response isn't known. Sarcoidosis affects both men and women, but it seems to be most prevalent among African American women.
Sarcoidosis is a systemic disease that can affect any organ. The symptoms of sarcoidosis vary, depending on which part of the body is affected. The word "sarcoidosis" comes from the Greek word "sarkodes," meaning "fleshy," and the Greek suffix "-osis," meaning "condition." Sarcoidosis has been associated with celiac disease. Celiac disease is a condition in which there is a chronic reaction to certain protein chains, commonly referred to as glutens, found in some cereal grains. In many people, sarcoidosis is mild. The inflammation that causes the granulomas may get better on its own. The granulomas may stop growing or shrink. Red bumps ( erythema nodosum ) on the face, arms, or shins, and inflammation of the eyes are also common symptoms. Sarcoidosis is thought to result from exposure of a genetically susceptible host to specific environmental agents that the immune system is unable to clear effectively. Many people with sarcoidosis have no symptoms, and the disease is discovered during a chest x-ray that is taken for other reasons. Treatment for severe cases of sarcoidosis is usually with strong anti-inflammatory medications.
Causes of Sarcoidosis
The common causes and risk factor's of Sarcoidosis include the following:
- The exect cause of sarcoidosis is unknown.
- Viral/bacterial infection.
- Genetic factors.
- An unidentified toxic substance.
- Inflammation of tissues of the body.
- People of Scandinavian, German or Irish descent have an increased risk.
- Environmental triggers (numerous cases of sarcoidosis occurred in a group of fire-fighters who lived together).
Symptoms of Sarcoidosis
Some sign and symptoms related to Sarcoidosis are as follows:
- Disturbed heart rhythms.
- Weight loss.
- Arthritis in the ankles.
- Fever and fatigue.
- Red bumps on the face, arms, or shins, and inflammation of the eyes are also common symptoms.
- Lung problems.
- Vague chest pain.
- A feeling of illness (malaise).
- Chills and night sweats.
Treatment of Sarcoidosis
Here is list of the methods for treating Sarcoidosis:
- Corticosteroids, most commonly prednisone, have been the standard treatment for many years.
- 'Cytotoxic drugs' are the other agents used to treat sarcoidosis.
- To treat joint pain, acetaminophen (Tylenol) or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) often are used first before corticosteroids, which tend to have more side effects.
- Cyclosporine, a drug used widely in organ transplants to suppress immune reaction, has been evaluated in one controlled trial.
- If prednisone fails to improve symptoms, other immune-modifying agents such as methotrexate, azathioprine, ciclosporin, hydroxychloroquine or chlorambucil may be used.
- Laser surgery may be used in treating disfiguring skin plaques and lupus pernio.