What is sarcoidosis, and what are the associated symptoms?

Written by: Dr Ahmed Sayeed
Edited by: Conor Lynch

In this article below, highly skilled and experienced pulmonologist and respiratory medicine specialist, Dr Ahmed Sayeed, talks to us about sarcoidosis, including the warning signs, risk factors, and treatment options.

What is sarcoidosis?

Sarcoidosis is a rare inflammatory disease that can affect various organs in the body, but which primarily targets the lungs and lymph nodes. Clusters of inflamed cells form small lumps called granulomas, which can interfere with the normal functioning of affected organs.


What are the main warning signs of the disease?

The main warning signs of sarcoidosis can vary depending on the organs affected. Common symptoms include persistent dry cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, fatigue, fever, swollen lymph nodes, skin rashes or lesions, and joint pain.


What are the known main causes?

The exact cause of sarcoidosis is not fully understood. It is believed to result from an abnormal immune response, where the immune system overreacts to an unknown trigger, leading to inflammation and granuloma formation. Possible triggers may include genetic factors, exposure to certain environmental substances, and infections.


Who is most at risk? What are the main risk factors?

While anyone can develop sarcoidosis, it is more common in individuals between the ages of 20 and 40, and it tends to affect women more frequently than men. People with a family history of sarcoidosis or certain ethnic backgrounds, such as African-Americans, have a higher risk of developing the disease.


Is sarcoidosis potentially life-threatening? How is it cured or managed?

Sarcoidosis can range from mild to severe, and in some cases, it can be life-threatening. The disease is considered chronic and can persist for years, but it may go into remission spontaneously in some individuals.


There is no specific cure for sarcoidosis, but treatment focuses on managing symptoms and preventing complications. Medications, such as corticosteroids, immunosuppressants, and other anti-inflammatory drugs, are commonly used to reduce inflammation and control the immune response.


It's important to note that each case of sarcoidosis is unique, and treatment plans should be tailored to individual needs. Regular follow-ups with healthcare professionals are essential to monitor the disease's progression and adjust treatment as necessary. If you or someone you know suspects they have sarcoidosis, it is crucial to seek medical advice for proper evaluation and management.


If you would like to schedule in an appointment with Dr Ahmed Sayeed today, you can do so by heading over to his Top Doctors profile.

Dr Ahmed Sayeed

By Dr Ahmed Sayeed
Pulmonology & respiratory medicine

Dr Ahmed Sayeed is a highly regarded and skilled pulmonologist and respiratory medicine specialist who possesses expertise in asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, chronic bronchitis, bronchiolitis, cough, and interstitial lung disease (lung scarring). He practises at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary.

Dr Sayeed obtained his first medical qualification in 2000 after completing a bachelor's degree in medicine. Following this, he went on to complete an MD in internal medicine in 2004, before achieving his final qualification in 2015: a master's degree in internal medicine at the Royal College of Physicians. Dr Sayeed, thus far, has published five articles in peer-reviewed journals and is currently working as an associate specialist in respiratory medicine, and also as an acute medicine consultant in the acute medical unit at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary. 

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