Sarcoidosis is a disease in which inflammation produces tiny lumps of cells in organs throughout the body. The lumps, called granulomas, most often appear in the lungs, but they also can occur in the lymph nodes, eyes, skin or other areas of the body.

In pulmonary sarcoidosis, the disease can reduce the amount of air the lungs can hold, cause abnormal stiffness of the lungs which therefore can cause breathing problems.

The cause of the disease is unknown. It can affect people of every race, sex, and age. It appears most often in young people between 20-40 years of age.

Signs and symptoms may include:

  • Lungs- shortness of breath, wheezing, dry cough that may disappear over time.
  • Lymph nodes- enlarged and sometimes tender in the neck and chest.
  • Eyes- Burning, itching, tearing, redness, sensitivity to light, dryness, spots and blurred vision.
  • Skin- Bumps, ulcers or discolored areas usually on the nose, eyes, back, arms, legs and scalp.
  • Bones and joints- bone lumps, pain or swelling in the hands or feet. Pain or swelling in ankles or joints.
  • Spleen and liver- fever, fatigue or itching. Pain in upper right part of the abdomen, under the ribs.
  • Heart-shortness of breath, swelling in the legs. Feeling of an irregular or fast heartbeat, ”passing out episodes”.
  • Salivary glands- swelling, causing the look of puffy cheeks, overly dry mouth and throat.
  • Nervous system- headaches, vision problems, weakness or numbness of the arm or leg.
  • Drooping of one side of face. Loss of movement in limbs.

Ref: ATS PES ©2006 ATS

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