What is Sarcoidosis?
Sarcoidosis is Chronic Systemic Inflammatory Disorder characterized by an Abnormal Tissue finding known as Noncaseating Granulomas. The cause of these Noncaseating Granulomas is not known although they are responsible for the majority of symptoms from this condition. This disease typically affects young and middle-aged adults with a slight female preference. In the United States it is most commonly seen among African Americans and with Scandinavian ancestry.
What are the symptoms of Sarcoidosis?
Sarcoidosis can affect multiple organ systems to include the lungs with shortness of breath and a vague mild chest pain. Musculoskeletal symptoms include Arthritis, Inflammation of Tendons and Swelling of the Joints. Skin Manifestations occur in one third of patients and include tender nodules in the lower extremities and specific skin lesions that occur over the lips, cheek, ears and midface. Sarcoidosis can also affect the eyes resulting in a type of Inflammatory condition known as Uveitis.
How is Sarcoidosis diagnosed?
There is no single clinical test to diagnose Sarcoidosis but rather a constellation of clinical findings typically suggests its presence. A blood test known as Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme (ACE) level may be helpful but this test is neither sensitive nor specific for Sarcoidosis. Chest X-Ray may demonstrate a finding called Hilar Adenopathy which is highly suggestive of Sarcoidosis. The gold standard test for the diagnosis of this condition is a biopsy showing Noncaseating Granuloma.
How is Sarcoidosis treated?
The treatment for Sarcoidosis varies and is driven by the most severe organ involvement. Corticosteroids at high doses may need to be used but other medications such as DMARD’s may be useful in the management of this condition. Severe disease may require the use of TNF inhibitors especially if manifestations or extrapulmonary in nature.