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Sarcoidosis, What is it?

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  • Sarcoidosis is a disease that causes inflammation of the tissues especially lungs and lymph nodes
  • The cause of the disease is unknown
  • The disease has many remissions and exacerbations during its course
  • The inflammation in sarcoidosis tends to form granulomas and fibrosis
  • The patient suffering from sarcoidosis suffers from shortness of breath and cough
  • These symptoms may be associated with skin rashes and skin nodules
  • Sometimes weight loss may also be the presenting symptom along with other general symptoms such as fatigue and night sweats.
  • Sarcoidosis also effects other organs such as heart, liver and nervous system
  • Sometimes the sarcoidosis may present with enlargement of the salivary glands and lacrimal glands.
  • The disease may occur in both sexes and all races, however it is more prevalent in black adult females.
  • The disease is common in ages 20-40
  • It is believed that sarcoidosis occurs due to abnormal immune response.
  • The disease is neither contagious, nor hereditary.
  • Sarcoidosis can be diagnosed by proper clinical examination and ruling out other conditions causing similar symptoms.
  • The other conditions that can be mistaken for Sarcoidosis are berryliosis, tuberculosis, hypersensitivity pneumonia, fungal pneumonia and rheumatoid arthritis.
  • No single test is diagnostic of Sarcoidosis.
  • X-Ray chest is the first investigation that can give an indication or suspicion of this disease.
  • Pulmonary Function Tests are also done to see how much of the lungs are involved by the disease.
  • ACE (Angiotensin Converting Enzyme )- This blood test is increased in sarcoidosis . The granulomas of Sarcoidosis secrete a large quantity of this enzyme and hence this test becomes an important diagnostic tool for this  condition
  • BAL ( Bronchioalveolar Lavage )-The alveoli are washed during a bronchoscopy procedure and the lavage fluid is examined microscopically to look for inflammatory cells .
  • Biopsy – A trans bronchial Biopsy is taken and examined microscopically. The Biopsy shows presence of non-caseating sarcoid granulomas.


  • Gallium scanning by injecting Gallium 67 gets focused on the inflamed lesion. This investigation is not diagnostic but can be indicative.


  • PET Scan – This investigation is also used in the investigation of Sarcoidosis.


  • KVEIM TEST-A preparation of sarcoid tissue material is injected intradermally and the reaction is seen. An induration at the site of injection is considered positive for sarcodiosis .


  • SLIT LAMP examination of the eyes helps is diagnosing the changes in the eyes due to this condition.


  • Many patients of sarcoidosis do not receive any treatment and may have a natural remission.


  • Prednisolone is a steroid that is given regularly for the treatment of this condition.


  • The treatment with steroids had to be weighted with the side effects and a well-balanced decision has to be taken.
  • Other drugs such as penicillamine that can act as immune modulators are also used for the treatment of sarcoidosis.


  • The prognosis of Sarcoidosis is usually good, however sometimes permanent damage due to scarring of the lung can cause long term disability.

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