Sarcoidosis is a condition that usually affects the lungs, eyes, skin, and lymph nodes, but can appear in any part of the body. The condition is characterized by the formation of scar tissue around the granulomas (collections of histiocyte cells) that develop as an immune response to a foreign substance or bacterial or viral infection. Doctors do not know why some bodies react this way. Many times, sarcoidosis resolves on its own, but it can also leave residual scarring, a condition known as pulmonary fibrosis that can cause breathing problems. Sarcoidosis of the heart can be fatal, as the granulomas impair normal heart function. Sarcoidosis may appear and then disappear suddenly. Some people have no symptoms at all, and doctors discover the condition when testing for another issue.
Sarcoidosis causes general symptoms including weight loss, fever, fatigue, and swollen lymph nodes. Other symptoms depend on the part of the body that is affected. For instance, skin symptoms include a red or purple rash, darker or lighter patches of skin, growths under the skin, and lesions. When sarcoidosis affects the eyes, it causes blurred vision, red eyes, pain, and light sensitivity. Heart symptoms include irregular heartbeat, chest pain, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, and swelling.
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