Sarcoidosis is a disease caused by inflammation that can attack any organ of the body.  On the skin, it can appear as sores; in the lungs, known as pulmonary sarcoidosis, the inflamed cells can reduce the amount of air the lungs can hold.  It can also make the lungs feel stiff.  90% of cases of sarcoidosis are pulmonary sarcoidosis, meaning it mainly attacks the lungs.

While the cause of sarcoidosis is unknown, many researchers and clinicians believe it to be cause by malfunctions of the body's immune system.  Others suspect that, in the case of pulmonary sarcoidosis, it could be the result of an infection caused by a virus, exposure to toxins or allergens.

If you're experiencing a "dry cough" without spitting up, mild chest pain or shortness of breath, you should have an examination by Dr. Garg to rule out a diagnosis of pulmonary sarcoidosis.

Pulmonary sarcoidosis is diagnosed after a combination of a physical examination by Dr. Garg, some lab tests, a pulmonary function study (that we can perform here in the office) and a chest x-ray (or x-rays).

In a significant number of cases, sarcoidosis can be brief and heal by itself.  However, it's important to note that 20-30% of patients who get pulmonary sarcoidosis wind up with permanent lung damage.

Sometimes, patients can get chronic pulmonary sarcoidosis, which can be debilitating for those who have contracted it to this degree.

Group Risks
Fortunately, sarcoidosis is not contagious, nor is it tied to your family tree.  So, not only will you not get it from kissing your Uncle Charlie on the cheek; you also won't get it from being part of Uncle Charlie's family tree.

Interestingly, some diseases often affect groups of people while bypassing others.  In this case, sarcoidosis affects African-Americans and Northern European white people.  In the US, sarcoidosis affects eight times as many African-Americans as it does white people.

Younger people seem to contract pulmonary sarcoidosis, compared to older folks.  The data points to young adults between 20-40 years of age as being the primary target group.

While sarcoidosis is found primarily in the lungs, it can also attack your liver, spleen, heart, kidneys, eyes, lymph glands, skin, nervous system and musculoskeletal system (your bones and the muscles connected to them).

While many people who contract pulmonary sarcoidosis heal fine on their own, a major concern is that, in some cases, a person can develop pulmonary fibrosis (sort of like scar tissue in the lungs), which is quite serious and can hamper the ability for the lungs to exchange oxygen.
Treatment Options
In some cases, no treatment is needed. In other cases, a patient may be given a prescription for corticosteroids (commonly called steroids).

If you smoke, please stop immediately!

Also try to avoid exposure to dust, chemicals and other environmental hazards that could pose a risk to the health of your lungs.

Dr. Garg will examine and treat you if you have pulmonary sarcoidosis.
240 Williamson St., Suite 300, Elizabeth, NJ, 07202   Ph: 908-994-8880   Fx: 908-994-8882
2052 Morris Ave, Union, NJ 07083   Ph: 908-206-1117   Fx: 908-994-8882

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