Get Well Wednesday: What You Need To Know About Sarcoidosis

Jen Caudle

Sarcoidosis can be devastating and difficult to diagnose, yet it disproportionately African-Americans. It’s the disorder that led to comedian Bernie Mac’s untimely death 9 years ago, though women get it more than men. Dr. Jen Caudle provides more information on this condition.

WHAT EXACTLY IS SARCOIDOSIS?
Sarcoidosis is a condition that causes inflammation in the body- it causes the immune system to over-react. This often occurs in the lungs, skin or lymph nodes- but it can affect any organ in the body. With sarcoidosis, you have something called “granulomas” – which are lumps of immune system cells that cluster in different organs of the body. These granulomas can affect how organs work and contribute to symptoms that people get.

We don’t really know what causes it- BUT researchers do think that genetics and the environment may play a role.

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE MOST COMMON SYMPTOMS OF SARCOIDOSIS?

Many people will have no symptoms at all. The symptoms of sarcoidosis vary depending on which organs are affected and can also depending on your gender, age, and ethnic background.

Those who have symptoms commonly have the following: cough, shortness of breath, wheezing, “flu-like” symptoms, fatigue, night sweats, weight loss.

But patients can also have skin rashes and bumps, painful lymph nodes, eye symptoms and even joint pains.

HOW IS IT TREATED AND IS THERE A CURE ON THE HORIZON?

Not everyone with sarcoidosis will need treatment. Sometimes the condition improves without treatment.

The need for treatment depends on the symptoms, which organs are affected and how they are affected, etc.

There is no cure but the condition can be treated and managed. It is important to mention that this is a serious condition and some people have severe complications, but many live happy and productive lives with this condition.

Diagnosing sarcoidosis usually requires lung evaluations which can include chest X-rays and other testing; biopsies are also done.

The treatment depends on which organs are affected and how. But steroids are very common treatments used.  There are other medications used as well (affect immune system, etc).

It’s also important to see the doctor regularly, eat a healthy diet, exercise, not smoke, etc.

In addition, research is ongoing – we certainly need research to help us develop more treatments and understand sarcoidosis better.

DOES IT DISPROPORTIONATELY AFFECT BLACK PEOPLE?

It mostly affects people ages 20-50 and more women are affected than men. African-Americans are commonly affected as well as people of Northern European origin

In the US, the disease affects African-Americans more often and more severely than Whites.

People with a family history are at higher risk.

WHY IS IT TRICKY TO DIAGNOSE?

The symptoms of sarcoidosis often overlap with the symptoms of other diseases so sometimes it can be tricky to diagnose at first. Sometimes people think their symptoms are related to the flu or another condition and may disregard their symptoms.

ARE THE SYMPTOMS DIFFERENT FOR MEN THAN THEY ARE FOR WOMEN?

Not necessarily.

ARE ANY OTHER DISEASES CONNECTED TO SARCOIDOSIS?

It is possible for sarcoid to co-occur with autoimmune and connective tissue diseases.

TEXT YOUR QUESTIONS TO 646464 AND DR. CAUDLE WILL ANSWER THEM ON BLACKAMERICAWEB.COM

DR. JEN CAUDLE IS A BOARD-CERTIFIED FAMILY PHYSICIAN AND ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR AT ROWAN UNIVERSITY. SHE FREQUENTLY APPEARS AS A HEALTH EXPERT ON THE DR. OZ SHOW, CBS 3 PHILADELPHIA NEWS, FOX NEWS, CNN, HLN AND OTHERS.

Like BlackAmericaWeb.com on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram

Share your email below to receive our daily newsletter!

Also On Black America Web:

UA-22461355-3
Disable mouse on posts and pages plugin by jaspreetchahal.org