What is sarcoidosis?
Sarcoidosis is a rare disease that causes inflammation and scar tissue throughout the body, especially the lungs, lymph nodes, liver, skin, and eyes.
The cause of sarcoidosis is not known. It occurs most often in young and middle-aged adults.
Symptoms may include fever, body aches, swelling of the lymph glands, breathlessness, a reddish rash on the face or low down on the legs, painful joints, and numbness. But sometimes sarcoidosis does not cause any symptoms. It may lead to lung (respiratory) failure and heart problems in some cases.
Sarcoidosis may require long-term treatment (lasting months to years) with corticosteroids and other medicines, especially if it causes severe breathing problems or affects the brain and heart.
How can you care for sarcoidosis?
- Take your medicines exactly as prescribed. Call your doctor if you think you are having a problem with your medicine.
- Do not smoke. Smoking can make sarcoidosis worse. If you need help quitting, talk to your doctor about stop-smoking programs and medicines. These can increase your chances of quitting for good.
- Avoid dust, smoke, and fumes. They can harm your lungs.
- Drink plenty of fluids. If you have kidney, heart, or liver disease and have to limit fluids, talk with your doctor before you increase the amount of fluids you drink.
- If your doctor recommends it, get more exercise. Walking is a good choice. Bit by bit, increase the amount you walk every day. Try for at least 30 minutes on most days of the week. You also may want to swim, bike, or do other activities.
Sarcoidosis: When to call
Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:
- You have severe trouble breathing.
- You passed out (lost consciousness).
Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:
- You have changes in your vision.
- You are very tired, get confused, or urinate a lot.
- Your symptoms do not get better, or they get worse.
Watch closely for changes in your health and be sure to contact your doctor if you have any problems.