UNITED STATES (WOAY) – It’s National Sarcoidosis Day, but many people may have never heard of the uncommon disease.
Sarcoidosis is an inflammatory disease that usually settles in the lungs or lymph nodes. Clumps of inflammatory cells form in the organs and the immune system goes into overdrive. Too many clumps can affect the structure and function of the organs.
“Most the time you’re going to see more of a cough maybe a little bit shortness of breath,” said physician’s assistant Trista Brunty. “It doesn’t always affect the lungs. Sometimes, it settles into the lymph nodes or even in various body parts.”
Most patients are diagnosed later in life. It’s considered chronic when it remains active for more than two to five years. Coal miners may be especially at risk.
“You hear about Black Lung, and that is usually a long-term effect of working in the environment of the coal dust…sarcoidosis is usually more of an inflammatory process,” said Brunty.
The disease is uncommon but life-changing, as there are limited treatment options and no cure.
“Treatment is going to be more centered on treating that part of the body that infected. If it’s in the lungs, we’ll treat [the lungs.] There’s really not a whole lot of treatments and there’s definitely no cure.”
There are over 25,000 cases of sarcoidosis diagnosed in the United States each year.