Sarcoidosis can affect many parts of the body, including the lungs. There is no known cause, though it is believed to be genetic. Sarcoidosis causes the immune system to overreact, which results in masses of abnormal tissue, or granulomas, to form in the lungs. Many people may have no symptoms, or feel as if they have a respiratory infection or mild cold. But chest x-rays will reveal the nodules, and the disease may over time cause shortness of breath, coughing, fatigue and night sweats.
What are sarcoidosis treatment options?
The first treatment path focuses on good health practices — regular medical checkups, a well-balanced diet and staying hydrated. Adequate sleep of around six to eight hours a night can help with fatigue, and regular exercise and weight maintenance may help improve lung function and energy. If you smoke, it’s recommended that you quit if you have sarcoidosis. Talk to your doctor or take advantage of health programs that offer tips and strategies for quitting.
Along the same lines, it’s important to avoid any unnecessary and prolonged exposure to dust, chemicals, fumes, gases or contaminants, as those can make the symptoms of sarcoidosis worse. If your sarcoidosis causes high levels of calcium in your blood or urine, it’s also suggested that you avoid calcium-rich foods like oranges and dairy, excessive amounts of vitamin D and sunlight.
The second treatment option is medication-based. Certain drugs may help relieve the symptoms of sarcoidosis, reduce lung tissue inflammation, prevent lung fibrosis from developing and reduce the negative effects of the granulomas. Corticosteroids may help decrease inflammation, and are often the first line of defense against symptomatic sarcoidosis. This may also help ease the cough and shortness of breath that some may experience.
Because steroids can have negative side effects, like weight gain, high blood pressure, irritability and increased risk of infections, other medications may be used instead. These include certain medications used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, antimalarial drugs, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
Sarcoidosis treatment options include cellular therapy
Cellular therapy may also be an option for those with sarcoidosis. This regenerative treatment uses cells from the patient’s body to help encourage the growth of new tissue in the lung. Many of our patients have found that they can breathe easier and experience an improved quality of life after cellular therapy. For more information, call us at the Lung Health Institute today at 855-882-1292.