Related Lung Conditions
Have you ever heard of sarcoidosis? If not, don’t be surprised. Sarcoidosis is a disease caused by small areas of inflammation. It can affect any part of the body including the skin, eyes, liver and heart, but it is most commonly found in the lungs. According to the American Lung Association, 90 percent of the cases affect the lungs. When sarcoidosis appears in the lungs it is called pulmonary sarcoidosis.
Understanding Pulmonary Sarcoidosis
Pulmonary sarcoidosis involves small patches of inflamed cells that appear on the lungs, breathing tubes and lymph nodes. The lungs can become stiff and may not be able to hold as much air as healthy lungs. In serious cases, sarcoidosis can cause scar tissue in the lungs, which can affect the lungs’ ability to move oxygen into the bloodstream.
When sarcoidosis appears in the lungs, you may experience dry coughing, shortness of breath and some mild chest pain. Other symptoms may include fatigue, weakness, fever and weight loss. Most of these same symptoms are commonly found in other lung diseases, which makes diagnosing pulmonary sarcoidosis very difficult.
Sarcoidosis can be diagnosed with a physical exam, lab tests, an X-ray and a pulmonary function test to the lungs. A pulmonary function test, such as a spirometry test, helps to measure how well you are breathing and how efficient your lungs are working. A physician might even take a sample of the cells from the inflamed area of the body to test for sarcoidosis.
The truth is that no one knows what causes sarcoidosis. The good news though is that it is usually only temporary. In most cases, sarcoidosis heals naturally without any treatment necessary. In serious cases, doctors may treat a patient’s symptoms to help improve how well the lungs and other organs are working. The most common treatment for sarcoidosis are drugs called corticosteroids. Corticosteroids work to reduce inflammation in the body and return the patient to a healthier status.