Sarcoidosis is the growth of tiny collections of inflammatory cells in different parts of your body — most commonly the lungs, lymph nodes, eyes and skin.

Doctors believe sarcoidosis results from the body's immune system responding to an unknown substance, most likely something inhaled from the air. There is no cure for sarcoidosis, but most people do very well with modest treatment. Sarcoidosis often goes away on its own. Alternatively, signs and symptoms of sarcoidosis may last for years and sometimes lead to organ damage.

Symptoms Causes Risk factors Complications

Signs and symptoms of sarcoidosis vary, depending on which organs are affected. Sarcoidosis sometimes develops gradually and produces symptoms that last for years. Other times, symptoms appear suddenly and then disappear just as quickly. Many people with sarcoidosis have no symptoms, so the disease may be discovered only when you have a chest X-ray for another reason.

Generalized symptoms

For many people, sarcoidosis begins with these signs and symptoms:

  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Weight loss

Lung symptoms

Almost everyone who has sarcoidosis eventually experiences lung problems, which may include:

  • Persistent dry cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing
  • Chest pain

Skin symptoms

As many as 25 percent of people who have sarcoidosis develop skin problems, which may include:

  • Rash. A rash of red or reddish-purple bumps, usually located on the shins or ankles, which may be warm and tender to the touch.
  • Lesions. Disfiguring skin sores may occur on your nose, cheeks and ears.
  • Color change. Areas of skin may get darker or lighter in color.
  • Nodules. Growths just under the skin may develop, particularly around scars or tattoos.

Eye symptoms

Sarcoidosis can affect the eyes without causing any symptoms, so it's important to have your eyes checked. When eye symptoms do occur, they may include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Eye pain
  • Severe redness
  • Sensitivity to light

When to see a doctor

Although sarcoidosis is not always serious, it can cause long-term damage to your organs. See your doctor if you experience signs and symptoms suggestive of sarcoidosis.

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