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Sarcoidosis (pronounced SAR-COY-DOE-SIS) is an inflammatory disease that can affect almost any organ in the body. This causes an increase in immunity. It causes a persons immune system to overreact when fighting an infection, (or imaginary infection). This then creates inflammation which then results in it damaging the persons own body tissue.
The classic feature of Sarcoidosis is the formation of Granulomas. These are microscopic clumps of inflammatory cells that group together. When too many of them form in a body organ they can interfere with how that organ functions on a day to day basis..
People worldwide have this disease although it is believed to affect some ethnic groups more than others. Sarcoidosis affects all ages but it is usually first diagnosed in the 20-40 year age group.
Sarcoidosis is most commonly found in the lungs and lymph nodes. The disease also targets other organs such as the kidneys, heart, liver, spleen, stomach, brain, skin, eyes, salivary glands, sinuses, muscles, bones and nervous system, cells, nerves and soft tissue.
Sarcoidosis does not move around from organ to organ but tends to follow a pattern, it is then a question of recognising that pattern within the individual at an early stage and maintaining that focus in management.
Sarcoidosis can be serious and in some cases life threatening, in regards to organ damage, especially when you don't know you have it or its left untreated for many years, however this is in extreme cases and only represents 2-5 % of patients. It is important when reading information on Sarcoidosis that the wrong impression is not taken.
There are five stages to the disease within the lungs which is described in the What to Expect section.
There are two types of Sarcoidosis – Acute and Chronic
It is important to understand that the complications of Sarcoidosis can be divided into two sections.
a) Life-threatening organ involvement
b) Symptoms which may be wholly incapacitating and debilitating but cause no danger to life expectancy
This orphan disease has been around for over 150 years and very little information exist and little is known about it.
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