April 2015

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Health Capsule

What Do You Know About Sarcoidosis?

Many people with sarcoidosis don’t realize they have it. The disorder often has no signs or symptoms, or only mild ones.

Sarcoidosis is a chronic (long-term) disorder that causes inflammationHeat, swelling, and redness caused by the body’s protective response to injury or infection. and lumps called granulomas in the body’s organs. The lungs are usually involved, although the condition can affect any organ, including the skin, eyes, liver, and brain.

Some people with sarcoidosis feel tired or depressed. They may wheeze, cough, or feel short of breath. The illness may also cause lumps, ulcers (sores), or areas of discolored skin.

Sarcoidosis affects people of all ages and races, but it’s most common among African Americans and people of Northern European descent. The cause is unknown, but genes and the immune system likely play a role. Treatment depends on symptoms and which organs are affected.

In 2008, Congress declared April as National Sarcoidosis Awareness Month to bring more attention to this rare and complicated disorder. Learn more about sarcoidosis, and watch a video about managing the condition, at www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/sarc.