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What is Sarcoidosis? August 11, 2008

Filed under: Physical Wellness — aprasek @ 2:27 pm

I was so sad to hear of Bernie Mac’s passing. I am a big fan of anyone who can bring laughter into this life and he definitely did that. I’m sure there will be a rockin Def Comedy Jam happening in heaven later this week.

Bernie Mac’s publicist has shared that the comedian died of complications from pneumonia. However, Mac also lived with the mysterious condition of sarcoidosis.

Here’s some info on sarcoidosis:

WHAT IS IT? 

The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) write:

Sarcoidosis involves inflammation that produces tiny lumps of cells in various organs in your body. The lumps are called granulomas because they look like grains of sugar or sand. They are very small and can be seen only with a microscope. These tiny granulomas can grow and clump together, making many large and small groups of lumps. If many granulomas form in an organ, they can affect how the organ works. This can cause symptoms of sarcoidosis.

SYMPTOMS:

The signs and symptoms of sarcoidosis are diverse depending on the organs that are affected. Most often, individuals will experience a chronic cough, shortness of breath, fevers, fatigue, enlarged lymph nodes and chest pain. You can find a more complete list of symptoms from the NHLBI.

HOW DO YOU GET SARCOIDOSIS?

The Foundation for Sarcoidosis Research reports:

No one knows exactly what causes sarcoidosis, but it is probably due to a combination of factors. Some research suggests that bacteria, viruses or chemicals might trigger the disease. Although such triggers might not bother most people, it is possible that in someone with the right genetic predisposition they provoke the immune system to develop the inflammation associated with sarcoidosis. The fact that a person is more likely to develop the disease if someone in his or her close family has the disease strongly suggests that genetics plays a role. Researchers have not discovered the genes for sarcoidosis yet, but it seems likely that more than one gene is involved.

Many reports have said that sarcoidosis is rare- this may not be true. The statistics for sarcoidosis cases are pretty unreliable. Often, individuals do not have symptoms from sarcoidosis and might live with the condition unknowingly. These individuals may only come to know they have sarcoidosis because of an unrelated chest x-ray that spots the granulomas.  

TREATMENT:

There is no traditional “cure” for sarcoidosis. Most often, no treatment is used or steroids are prescribed. However, there are many pharmaceutical options being explored and used- you can see the list here

If you would like more info about sarcoidosis, check out the Patient Education Institute’s summary of sarcoidosis.

 

Breathe in, Peace out…

Aimee

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