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.
For many people, sarcoidosis begins with these signs and symptoms:
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Weight loss
Almost everyone who has sarcoidosis eventually experiences lung problems, which may include:
- Persistent dry cough
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
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.
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.