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Sarcoidosis: What is it?

Monday, March 31, 2008

Sarcoidosis (sar"koi-do'sis) is an inflammatory auto-immune disease that can affect almost any organ in the body. It produces granulomas in various organs of the body. Sometimes they grow and clump together . If many grow and clump together in the same organ, it can affect how that organ works.

It most often affects the lungs, and the lymph nodes, and it almost always occurs in more than one organ at a time.

It also commonly affects the skin, eyes, and liver. The reason I decided to bring it up is because it is often mis-diagnosed. There is also no known ways to prevent it.

There are however some common symptoms to look out for.

As far as risk factors, according to the mayo clinic:

Anyone, of any race or age, can develop sarcoidosis. But the following factors are more
commonly associated with the disease:

Race. Black Americans are far more likely to develop sarcoidosis than are white Americans.
And although sarcoidosis affects white men and women about equally, black women get
the disease twice as often as black men do.

Ethnicity. People of Scandinavian, German or Irish descent have an increased risk.

Age. Sarcoidosis normally occurs between the ages of 20 and 40. It rarely affects children,
but can occur in adults older than 50.

How is it treated?

It depends on the organ that is affected. However if your heart, eyes or central nervous system is affected, or if lab tests show that your blood calcium is elevated then there is a need for treatment. An anti-inflammatory is often prescribed, the most common is prednisone. The length of time that that it is needed depends on the person and the severity of symptoms.

Also according to the Mayo clinic there are some serious side affects associated with this medication, and those include:

  • Osteoporosis, a disease that causes your bones to become thin and brittle, leading to

  • High blood pressure

  • Cataracts

  • Diabetes

  • Increased risk of infection

  • Weight gain and redistribution of body fat

On the other side of the coin, there is an alternative, holistic approach to treating this disease.

This includes:

Eating a diet low in vitamin D which helps to relieve or prevent hypercalcemia and kidney disease. Also avoiding sunlight helps as sunlight coverts to vitamin D in the body.

The cessation of smoking.

Melatonin is used as an alternative as it helps improve breathing, decreases the swelling in lymph nodes and helps to normalize blood tests.

Other homeopathic remedies include:

Leuticum (Syphilinum)

Arsenicum album

As with any disease the key is to get it diagnosed and treated as early as possible, so hopefully I have given you some tools to aide you with your decision.