Sarcoidosis is a systemic inflammatory disease that occurs throughout
the world and affects people of all races and ages. Despite years of study
and many recent advances in diagnostic strategies, the etiology of sarcoidosis
remains unknown. The disease is characterized pathologically by the presence
of noncaseating granulomas in affected organs. These granulomas can occur
with varying rates in any organ system, but most commonly are found in the
lung and lymph nodes. Patients with sarcoidosis may be entirely asymptomatic
or can have a wide range of constitutional and other nonspecific symptoms.
The wide spectrum of affected patients, variability in organ involvement,
absence of specific symptoms, and unidentified etiology combine to make sarcoidosis
both a diagnostic and a therapeutic challenge.
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