The following information may help to address your question:
What is sarcoidosis?
is an inflammatory disease characterized by the development and growth of tiny lumps of cells
called granulomas. If these tiny granulomas grow and clump together in an organ
, they can affect the organ's structure and function. Overtime, this can lead to permanent scarring or thickening of the organ tissue
(also called fibrosis). Although the granulomas can be found in almost any part of the body, they occur most commonly in the lungs and lymph nodes
. Signs and symptoms of sarcoidosis vary based on the location of the granulomas and the severity of the condition. The exact cause of sarcoidosis is poorly understood. In many cases, treatment is not necessary and sarcoidosis will resolve on its own. However, therapies such as corticosteroids
, immunosuppressants, and antimalarial drugs, are available to control symptoms, prevent complications, and improve outcomes.
Last updated: 4/16/2017
What causes sarcoidosis?
The cause of sarcoidosis is currently unknown. Some scientists believe it is an immune system
disorder that occurs in people with a genetic predisposition
to the condition. They suspect that in people with a genetic risk for sarcoidosis, exposure to certain triggers in the environment (such as bacteria
and/or chemicals) may cause an overactive or inappropriate immune response. This leads to the development of granulomas in various organs throughout the body and the symptoms associated with the condition. Studies are ongoing to investigate the genetic and environmental components of this disease.
Last updated: 4/17/2017
What are the signs and symptoms of sarcoidosis?
Although many people with sarcoidosis have very few or no symptoms of the condition, others experience severe effects that can interfere with daily life. When present, signs and symptoms vary based on the location of the granulomas and the severity of the disease.
At the time of diagnosis, many people affected by sarcoidosis have a classic set of signs described as Lofgren’s Syndrome
Because affected people frequently have lung involvement, other common symptoms include shortness of breath (dyspnea
), a cough that won't go away, and chest pain.
People with sarcoidosis may also experience: 
- Weight loss
- Skin rashes, ulcers or discoloration
- Enlarged liver or spleen
- Vision problems, eye dryness or irritation
- Headaches, seizures, or weakness on one side of the face
- Aches and pains in the muscles and bones
- Abnormal heart beats
- Kidney stones
For more specific information, please visit the Foundation for Sarcoidosis Research's
website. They offer an information page entitled "Organs Involved" which outlines the symptoms that may be experienced when certain organ systems are affected by the condition.
Last updated: 4/17/2017
What treatment is available for sarcoidosis?
In many cases of sarcoidosis, no treatment is necessary and the condition will resolve on its own overtime. However, therapies are available to control symptoms, prevent complications and improve outcomes in affected people. A team of medical specialists can help determine which affected people will benefit from these treatments, based on many factors including:
- The symptoms present
- The severity of the symptoms
- If any vital organs are affected (lungs, eyes, heart, or brain)
- How the organ is affected
Treatment options for sarcoidosis generally include corticosteroid
medications and/or medicines that suppress the immune system. In people with certain symptoms, antimalarial drugs may be recommended, as well.
is the medication most commonly used to treat sarcoidosis. It is in a class of drug called corticosteroids. If the condition worsens when taking prednisone or if the side effects of prednisone are severe, a doctor may prescribe other drugs such as methotrexate
, and cyclophosphamide
Last updated: 4/18/2017
Is there any information about alternative therapies for sarcoidosis?
You can find relevant journal articles on alternative therapies for sarcoidosis through a service called PubMed, a searchable database of biomedical journal articles. Although not all of the articles are available for free online, most articles listed in PubMed have a summary available. To obtain the full article, contact a medical/university library or your local library for interlibrary loan. You can also order articles online through the publisher’s Web site. Using sarcoidosis AND alternative medicine
as your search term should locate articles. To narrow your search, click on the filters on the left side of the screenbox and specify your criteria for locating more relevant articles.
The National Library of Medicine (NLM) Web site has a page for locating libraries in your area that can provide direct access to these journals (print or online). The Web page also describes how you can get these articles through interlibrary loan and Loansome Doc (an NLM document-ordering service). You can access this page at the following link http://nnlm.gov/members/. You can also contact the NLM toll-free at 888-346-3656 to locate libraries in your area.
Last updated: 10/11/2013
Is there an institute at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) that may be able to provide information about alternative therapies for sarcoidosis?
The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH). The NCCIH, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), is the Federal Government's lead agency for scientific research on the diverse medical and health care systems, practices, and products that are not genrally considered part of conventional medicine. We recommend you or your friend contact them directly to learn more.
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)
9000 Rockville Pike
Bethesda, MD 20892
Web site: http://nccih.nih.gov
Last updated: 4/6/2016
We hope this information is helpful. We strongly recommend you discuss this information with your doctor. If you still have questions, please
GARD Information Specialist
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