What is Sarcoidosis?
Sarcoidosis is a disease due to inflammation. It can appear in
almost any organ of the body most often affecting the lungs, lymph
nodes, skin or eyes.
No one knows the cause of sarcoidosis. In fact, there maybe multiple
causes or initiators. The disease can appear suddenly and disappear.
Or it can develop gradually and go on to produce symptoms that come
and go, sometimes for a lifetime. In many people it is asymptomatic.
As sarcoidosis progresses, small lumps, or granulomas, appear in the
affected organs. In the majority of cases, these granulomas do not
disappear; the organs may remain inflamed or scarred (fibrotic).
Two skin doctors working independently, Dr. Jonathan Hutchinson and
Dr. Caesar Boeck in Norway, first identified sarcoidosis over 100
years ago. Sarcoidosis was originally called Hutchinson's disease or
Boeck's disease. Sarcoidosis was once considered a rare disease. We
now know that it is a common chronic illness that appears all over
the world. Indeed, it is the most common fibrotic lung disorder and
occurs often enough in the United States for Congress to have
declared a National Sarcoidosis Awareness Day in 1990.
Much about the cause(s) of sarcoidosis remains unknown. But, if you
have sarcoidosis you can be reassured that patients with sarcoidosis
are usually asymptomatic or have mild symptoms. In most cases, the
illness does not interfere with the patient’s life, is quite stable
and often goes away by itself. Sarcoidosis is not cancer. It is not
contagious, and your friends and family will not catch it from you.