Community Blog

What are the Symptoms of Sarcoidosis?

By Vicki and Brian Day

Sarcoidosis is a condition that can affect many different areas of the body. It is a disease characterized by granulomas, which are clusters of inflammatory cells, that form in the body. Granulomas form most often in the lungs, eyes, skin, and lymph nodes. Doctors think the condition occurs as a result of the immune system responding to a substance, such as something a person inhaled. It is an incurable disease, and sometimes goes away on its own. However, some people are more severely impacted and may have symptoms for years. Sarcoidosis can even damage organs.

Sarcoidosis Symptoms

The symptoms of sarcoidosis depend on which part of the body is affected. However, there are some general symptoms that many people with the condition experience, such as:

  • Weight loss.
  • Fatigue.
  • Fever.
  • Swelling in the lymph nodes.

If the condition is affecting the lungs, symptoms may include:

  • Chest pain.
  • Wheezing.
  • A persistent dry cough.
  • Being short of breath.

When sarcoidosis affects the eyes, there may be no symptoms, but the disease can be noticed during an eye exam. If symptoms do occur, they may include:

  • Pain.
  • Blurry vision.
  • Light sensitivity.
  • Redness in the eyes.

Symptoms associated with sarcoidosis that affects the skin are:

  • Lesions on the ears, cheeks, or nose.
  • Patches of skin that are lighter or darker in color.
  • Red or reddish-purple bumps that look like a rash. The rash usually occurs on the shins and ankles and may feel warm or hurt a bit when touched.
  • Nodules under the skin, especially around tattoos or scars.

Sarcoidosis Sufferers

Sarcoidosis is up to 17 times more common in certain populations, such as African-Americans, Germans, Irish, Scandinavians, and Puerto Ricans. About 4 in 10,000 people in the United States are afflicted with sarcoidosis. Women are also more likely than men to be diagnosed with the disease.

Caring for Sarcoidosis

In some cases, sarcoidosis does not require treatment. However, others may require medication. For those who do not need treatment, doctors often suggest following some “good health practices” to minimize the effects of the disease.

A home care provider can be useful in helping a senior to follow the good health practices, which include:

  • Regular Checkups: It’s important for a senior with sarcoidosis to be seen by a doctor regularly. A home care provider can drive the senior to and from appointments.
  • Staying Hydrated: A home care provider can remind seniors to drink fluids throughout the day.
  • Eating Well: A balanced diet is important for overall health. A home care provider can cook for seniors who do not want to or are unable to cook for themselves.
  • Sleep: A good night’s sleep is important. A home care provider can assist seniors with establishing and following a bedtime routine to promote better sleep.
  • Exercise: A home care provider can encourage older adults to remain physically active by going for walks with them or taking them to group exercise classes.

With regular medical care and the assistance of a home care provider, seniors with sarcoidosis can live healthier, more comfortable lives. If your loved one suffers from sarcoidosis, contact a home care agency to find out what a home care provider can do for your senior family member.