What is sarcoidosis?

Sarcoidosis is a multisystemic disease characterized by non-caseating granulomas. Sarcoidosis most commonly involves the lungs/mediastinum. Lung involvement may be detected more easily because the lungs are easy to visualize and chest radiography is a frequently requested examination. A significant portion of patients with sarcoidosis do not have symptoms, some patients may have symptoms such as weakness, fatigue, fever, and skin lesions. Sarcoidosis is also named according to the organ involved. The form involving the lungs is called pulmonary sarcoidosis, the form involving the central nervous system is called neurosarcoidosis, and the form involving the heart is called cardiac sarcoidosis. Sarcoidosis is generally considered a benign (non-cancerous, benign) disease. On the other hand, it can become a life-threatening disease due to some organs involved. Neurosarcoidosis, cardiac sarcoidosis can be considered as the most typical examples of this condition.

How is sarcoidosis diagnosed?

In general, the diagnosis of sarcoidosis is made by detecting non-caseating granuloma in the biopsies taken from the involved organ and excluding other diseases causing granuloma. Demonstration of involvement in more than one organ is significant for diagnosis. Although there are authors suggesting that biopsy is not required in typical radiological stage 1 pulmonary sarcoidosis, it is meaningful to perform a biopsy in such patients, since diseases such as lymphoma and metastatic cancer are included in the differential diagnosis.

What is a granuloma?

Granuloma is a histopathological term. Macrophage is a small inflammatory structure formed by a collection of cells such as lymphocytes. There are many diseases with granuloma. Tuberculosis, Crohn’s disease, hypersensitivity pneumonia, cat-scratch disease can be given as examples of diseases with granulomas other than sarcoidosis.

What is the cause of sarcoidosis disease?

The cause of sarcoidosis is unknown.

Is there a cure for sarcoidosis?

There is no treatment that completely eliminates sarcoidosis. There are drug treatments that put sarcoidosis in remission. The main goal of drug therapy in sarcoidosis is to prevent organ dysfunction. Pulmonary sarcoidosis is divided into 4 stages according to chest X-ray. A significant number of patients have sarcoidosis on chest radiographs taken for other reasons. Most of the time, radiological stage 1 pulmonary sarcoidosis is detected in these patients. Pulmonary sarcoidosis treatment is planned in a way that includes radiological staging. While radiological stage 1 pulmonary sarcoidosis is usually followed without treatment, since a significant portion of them go into remission without medication within a year, treatment is decided according to the pulmonary function tests and the extent of lung involvement in radiological stage 2 and radiological stage 3 pulmonary sarcoidosis. Radiological stage 4 pulmonary sarcoidosis is generally considered incurable because there is fibrosis in the lungs. In some organ involvement, drug treatment is absolutely necessary because it is a life-threatening condition or organ dysfunction. For example, neurosarcoidosis and cardiac sarcoidosis are forms of sarcoidosis that must be treated with medication.

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