0
We're unable to sign you in at this time. Please try again in a few minutes.
Retry
We were able to sign you in, but your subscription(s) could not be found. Please try again in a few minutes.
Retry
There may be a problem with your account. Please contact the AMA Service Center to resolve this issue.
Contact the AMA Service Center:
Telephone: 1 (800) 262-2350 or 1 (312) 670-7827  *   Email: subscriptions@jamanetwork.com
Error Message ......
JAMA Patient Page |

Sarcoidosis FREE

Janet M. Torpy, MD, Writer; Alison E. Burke, MA, Illustrator; Richard M. Glass, MD, Editor
JAMA. 2006;296(17):2166. doi:10.1001/jama.296.17.2166.
Text Size: A A A
Published online

Sarcoidosis is an inflammatory disease without a known cause and without a cure. It occurs in individuals throughout the world. Sarcoidosis usually affects the lungs, causing granulomas (inflammatory nodules). However, it can affect other organs, including the heart, liver, lymph nodes, skin, and eyes. Its symptoms vary depending on the areas of the body affected. Sometimes sarcoidosis is found incidentally, such as when a chest x-ray is taken for another reason. There are many theories about the cause of sarcoidosis, including environmental exposure, a genetic (inherited) tendency to develop sarcoidosis, viral infection, immune system overactivity, or a combination of these factors. Treatment is based on an individual's symptoms and the degree to which involved organs are affected.

The November 1, 2006, issue of JAMA includes an article about sarcoidosis.

SARCOIDOSIS FACTS

  • Those most likely to develop sarcoidosis are younger women (aged 20-40 years).

  • Persons of African or Scandinavian descent are more likely to have sarcoidosis.

  • Sarcoidosis can improve on its own or can worsen over time.

  • Some individuals with sarcoidosis have no symptoms, yet others can be severely ill with multiple organ systems involved.

  • Symptoms of sarcoidosis vary and can include generalized fatigue, weight loss, shortness of breath, dry cough, raised bumps on the shins (called erythema nodosum), reddened or watery eyes, or unexplained fever. Persons who have heart involvement can have abnormal heart rhythms or heart failure. Liver involvement may occur without symptoms, or there may be evidence of liver failure.

  • Sarcoidosis is not contagious.

DIAGNOSIS AND TESTING

  • Chest x-ray may reveal scarring or granuloma formation in the lungs.

  • Breathing studies, such as spirometry, may reveal restriction in breathing capacity.

  • Arterial blood gases can show hypoxemia (decreased level of oxygen in the blood), an indication of reduced breathing capacity.

  • Blood testing, computed tomography (CT scan), electrocardiogram, biopsies or tissue sampling, and other testing may be required to look for involvement of organs besides the lungs.

TREATMENT

Treatment is based on the severity of sarcoidosis and its symptoms. Sometimes no treatment is necessary because the disease may have minimal symptoms or none at all or may improve on its own. Prednisone, an oral form of steroid, is usually the first treatment offered. Because steroids have adverse effects, the smallest possible dose is used. Some individuals cannot tolerate the side effects of steroids, which can include high blood pressure, weight gain, thinning of the skin, osteoporosis (thin bones), and elevated blood sugar. Other medications may be prescribed, including medications that suppress the immune system and that decrease inflammation. If other organs are involved besides the lungs, medicines to treat those damaged organs may be required. Making healthy lifestyle choices, including not smoking and maintaining a healthful diet, is an important component of living with sarcoidosis.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

INFORM YOURSELF

To find this and previous JAMA Patient Pages, go to the Patient Page Index on JAMA's Web site at http://www.jama.com. Many are available in English and Spanish. A Patient Page on living with sarcoidosis was published in the March 13, 2002, issue.

Sources: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; American Lung Association

Photograph reproduced with permission from Department of Pathology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

The JAMA Patient Page is a public service of JAMA. The information and recommendations appearing on this page are appropriate in most instances, but they are not a substitute for medical diagnosis. For specific information concerning your personal medical condition, JAMA suggests that you consult your physician. This page may be photocopied noncommercially by physicians and other health care professionals to share with patients. To purchase bulk reprints, call 203/259-8724.

TOPIC: LUNG DISEASES

Tables

References

CME
Meets CME requirements for:
Browse CME for all U.S. States
Accreditation Information
The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
Note: You must get at least of the answers correct to pass this quiz.
You have not filled in all the answers to complete this quiz
The following questions were not answered:
Sorry, you have unsuccessfully completed this CME quiz with a score of
The following questions were not answered correctly:
Commitment to Change (optional):
Indicate what change(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.
Your quiz results:
The filled radio buttons indicate your responses. The preferred responses are highlighted
For CME Course: A Proposed Model for Initial Assessment and Management of Acute Heart Failure Syndromes
Indicate what changes(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.

Multimedia

Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging & repositioning the boxes below.

Articles Related By Topic
Related Collections
PubMed Articles