What are the symptoms of sarcoidosis?
Symptoms vary according to which organs are involved. Symptoms can develop slowly and last for years. Or, they are only diagnosed when a chest X-ray is done for another reason.
General sarcoidosis symptoms usually include fatigue, swollen lymph nodes, weight loss, and painful, swollen joints. While sarcoidosis is associated with immune deficiency, patients are not considered to be immunocompromised.
If sarcoidosis affects the lungs - the most common place - symptoms can include persistent dry cough, shortness of breath, wheezing and chest pain. If untreated, sarcoidosis in the lungs (pulmonary sarcoidosis) can cause permanent scarring, making it difficult to breathe.
Skin is another common location, and symptoms may include:
Sarcoidosis can affect your eyes without causing symptoms. Be sure to have regular eye exams. It can cause inflammation in any part of your eye that can damage the retina. This damage can cause blindness, and occasionally cataracts and glaucoma.
If you have eye symptoms they can include:
If sarcoidosis attacks your heart, it can disrupt heart rhythm and blood flow, and can be life-threatening in rare cases. Heart symptoms can include:
In the kidneys, sarcoidosis changes how your body processes calcium, which can affect kidney function, cause kidney stones, or kidney failure.
Rarely, sarcoidosis can cause granulomas to form in the brain or spinal cord, causing central nervous system problems, such as facial paralysis from inflamed face nerves.
About 10% of patients have advanced sarcoidosis, meaning they’ve had the disease for two to five years and it’s considered a chronic disease. Advanced cases also have worsening symptoms despite treatment, and require treatment even if the patient isn’t having symptoms.
Other symptoms of advanced disease may include: