Sarcoidosis can affect any part of the body but is most likely to show up in the lungs and lymph nodes, with symptoms such as shortness of breath and chronic coughing.
But it can affect other organs, such as the eyes, skin and liver, or the entire body, with manifestations such as fatigue.
The cause of sarcoidosis is chronic inflammation that leads to the formation of small clumps of immune cells called granulomas in various places. The fact that it can affect so many organs is why symptoms can vary so much.
Some people experience sudden and rapidly escalating symptoms that disappear in a short time. Others have symptoms that develop gradually and last longer. In some cases, there are no symptoms, with the disease showing up in a chest X-ray.
In addition to shortness of breath and chronic cough, sarcoidosis’s respiratory symptoms can include wheezing and chest pain. It can also cause swollen lymph nodes.
When it affects the whole body, it generates such symptoms as fatigue, fever, and weight loss.
The eyes and surrounding tissues are also frequently affected. Eyes can become sensitive to light. Sarcoidosis patients can also feel pain, burning, itching, tearing, and redness in the eyes. And they may experience blurred vision.
Sometimes high numbers of granulomas can interfere with the way organs function, leading to more severe symptoms.
About 10 percent of sarcoidosis patients experience headaches, a condition known as ataxia that diminishes muscle control or coordination, and seizures. These are signs that the disease is affecting the central nervous system.
Less common symptoms include cirrhosis as a result of abnormal liver function, kidney stones because of disrupted calcium management, irregular heartbeats, swelling and pain in joints, and fainting due to granulomas in the heart.
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