Recently, a doctor-friend sent me an article to read about Sarcoidosis—I read it but it was quite complicated. When I discovered April 30th was National Sarcoidosis Day, though, it seemed like I should take another look at understanding a bit more about what Sarcoidosis is.
And it’s still a bit complicated!
What is Sarcoidosis?
Sarcoidosis is a condition that affects the lungs and lymph nodes most commonly, but can also impact the heart, skin, eyes, and other organs. Scientists don’t know exactly what causes Sarcoidosis, but it could be due to an immune reaction to a substance such as chemicals, infections, or even the body’s own proteins.  This reaction causes an abnormal amount of inflammatory cells to grow within the body—this may occur when a person is “genetically predisposed.” 
Sarcoidosis may appear over a long period of time or rapidly.  People may also not know they have sarcoidosis until lung involvement appears on a routine chest x-ray. Imaging studies such as x-ray, CT scan, MRI, heart tests and eye exams, as well as routine blood work, may help diagnose sarcoidosis.  Biopsies—taking a sample of tissue affected by sarcoidosis—can be done to check for the inflammatory cells connected with sarcoidosis. 
Just like sarcoidosis may appear rapidly or over a long period of time, it often resolves similarly. Treatment may not even be necessary, and it may just need to “run its course”.  If you have more than mild symptoms, treatment may be necessary. Treatment for sarcoidosis may include: corticosteroids to manage inflammation, and can be used directly/topically on some parts of the body such as skin and eyes; powerful medicines to suppress the immune system; and medicine for skin lesions and elevated blood calcium. Sometimes, other medicines are used, such as ones sometimes used for rheumatoid arthritis—typically these are used only when sarcoidosis does not respond to other treatments. 
Depending on the problems your sarcoidosis causes, different more specific treatments may be given. As well, if severe damage occurs to organs such as your lungs, liver or heart, transplant surgery may be an option if damage cannot be reversed. 
Sarcoidosis can last weeks or moths (known as acute sarcoidosis) and then resolve, or it can be long-term.  Many cases go away completely within 2-3 years, even without treatment.  Even if sarcoidosis goes into remission, a person may have lasting effects.  Why the disease process is so different from one person to the next is not currently understood by researchers. 
Just like sarcoidosis can onset rapidly or slowly, it can also resolve or subside quickly or slowly, as well. 
Sarcoidosis symptoms vary from person to person, and depends on which organs are affected. Many common initial symptoms may be brushed off as normal illness—such as cough, fever, weight loss, fatigue, and generally feeling unwell.  Skin rashes may or may not prompt the patient to seek medical attention, as it may be ‘brushed off’ as skin sensitivity, but is also a symptom of sarcoidosis. Joint pain, nasal stuffiness and voice changes may also just seem signs of temporary illness. Other more serious symptoms that will be acted upon more quickly include enlarged lymph glands in the chest, shortness of breath, persistent cough, vision or eye changes, kidney stones, nervous system changes—including hearing loss, seizures, mental health disorders, or meningitis—heart rhythm changes, inflammation around the heart, and heart failure. 
Medical ID jewelry for sarcoidosis
Depending on the treatments required for your sarcoidosis, your doctor may recommend you wear medical ID jewelry. If you are taking corticosteroids or immune suppressing medicines, sarcoidosis medical ID stating this can keep you safer. Depending on the organs effected by your sarcoidosis—which typically do not change over time—medical ID jewelry may be more strongly recommended, such as when the heart is impacted or lungs are affected significantly. If you need medical ID jewelry, consider our custom engraved medical ID bracelets and necklaces.