What is sarcoidosis?
Sarcoidosis is a disease that commonly occurs in the lungs, in which case it's often referred to as pulmonary sarcoidosis. It's caused by small areas of inflamed cells on parts of the lungs, causing them to become stiff and in some cases, not hold as much air as they should.
How does it occur?
The cause of sarcoidosis is still unknown. However, it is more common in females than in males, and more often affects people between the ages of 20-40. The disorder is most common in African Americans and in Scandinavians.
What are the symptoms?
Some patients who suffer from sarcoidosis experience no symptoms. In cases that do present symptoms, they can include:
- Chest pain
- Dry cough
- Shortness of breath
- And many more
How is it diagnosed?
When your healthcare provider tests you for sarcoidosis, they may perform a number of tests and procedures, including:
- A complete physical exam
- Blood tests
- Chest X-rays
- Pulmonary function tests
In some cases, your lung physician may have to perform a biopsy to diagnose pulmonary sarcoidosis.
How is it treated?
Fortunately, sarcoidosis is imminently treatable. In many patients, the disorder goes away on its own. When treatment is necessary, it's to relieve any symptoms that may present as well as restore full lung function. These treatment options may include corticosteroids to reduce inflammation or other drugs.
How can I take care of myself?
If you are recovering from sarcoidosis, you should complete a course of treatment as recommended by your physician. You should also avoid irritants to the lungs and see your doctor for frequent check-ups to ensure a full recovery.