Sarcoidosis Treatment in Cambridge, OH
Sarcoidosis disease is an inflammatory autoimmune condition which causes abnormal masses of inflamed tissues called granulomas to form in the body, which may alter the normal structure and possibly the function of the body parts it affects. Sarcoidosis affects multiple organs in the body (for instance, cardiac sarcoidosis occurs when granulomas form in the tissue of the heart, while pulmonary sarcoidosis may refer to when the condition affects the lungs), though it is known most frequently to affect the lungs, lymph glands, eyes and skin.
Affecting women more than men and occurring in ages ranging from 20 to 40, sarcoidosis is also approximately 10 times more common in African Americans. Brought into the national spotlight in 2008 when famous actor Bernie Mac died of the disease, research has since been dedicated to understanding sarcoidosis, with the disease even being portrayed on the popular medical drama television show House. While there remains no definitive known cause of the disease, a sarcoidosis diagnosis is no longer a death sentence if properly identified and treated.
Think you may have sarcoidosis? Consult a healthcare provider in Cambridge that can discuss sarcoidosis treatment options with you. Call (740) 439-3515 or contact Medical Associates of Cambridge, Inc. online.
Symptoms of sarcoidosis depend upon the specific organs involved, though most patients initially complain about a persistent dry cough, fatigue and shortness of breath. Other sarcoidosis symptoms may be more specific to the organ affected by the disease:
- Chest pain
- Rash or reddish-purple bumps, usually on the shins or ankles, which may feel warm and tender
- Disfiguring sores (lesions) on the nose, cheeks and ears
- Skin discoloration
- Growths under the skin (nodules), especially around scars or tattoos
- Blurred vision
- Eye pain
- Severe redness in the eyes
- Sensitivity to light
If sarcoidosis goes untreated, there are a number of long-term problems associated with the disease, including:
- Permanent lung scarring, which makes it difficult to breathe
- Inflammation of the eyes, which may ultimately lead to blindness
- Kidney failure
- Abnormal heart rhythm and other heart problems
- Problems related to the central nervous system affecting the brain and spinal cord, which could lead to paralysis
Diagnosis and Sarcoidosis Treatment
In order to diagnose sarcoidosis, your healthcare provider will likely start with a physical examination, which will include examining any skin lesions you may have. He or she will listen carefully to your heart and your lungs and check your lymph nodes for any signs of swelling. A sarcoidosis diagnosis will depend on the results of a number of diagnostic exams, including:
- Chest X-ray to inspect for lung damage or enlarged lymph nodes
- Computerized tomography (CT scan) if complications from the X-ray are suspected
- Positron emission tomography (PET) scan or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) if sarcoidosis is suspected to be affecting your heart or central nervous system
- Blood tests to assess your overall health as well as to evaluate how well your kidneys and liver are functioning
- Lung (pulmonary) function tests to measure lung volume as well as how much oxygen your lungs are delivering to your blood
- Eye exam to check for vision problems that may be caused by your condition
- Biopsy of the part of your body believed to be affected by sarcoidosis
Sarcoidosis treatment will likely consist of medication. These may include:
- Corticosteroids (anti-inflammatories) to treat the affected area and which can be applied either through a cream for skin lesions or as eye drops
- Medications, such as methotrexate (Trexall) and azathioprine (Azasan, Imuran), to reduce inflammation by suppressing the immune system
- Hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil), a medication that can be helpful for skin disease and elevated blood-calcium levels
- Tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) inhibitors, medications that are typically used to treat inflammation associated with rheumatoid arthritis, may be helpful for treating sarcoidosis when other treatments haven’t helped
Your healthcare provider will likely recommend dietary changes to strengthen the immune system and quell inflammation. Good sleep hygiene and regular physical activity will also be important parts of your sarcoidosis treatment, along with smoking cessation. Additionally, in extreme circumstances, an organ transplant may be considered when sarcoidosis has caused severe damage to your lungs, heart or liver.
The definitive cause of sarcoidosis is not known, but that's not to say treatment isn't decisive and deliberate. Schedule a consultation with a qualified healthcare provider in Cambridge that can provide proper treatment for your sarcoidosis diagnosis! Call (740) 439-3515 or contact Medical Associates of Cambridge, Inc. online.
Medical Associates of Cambridge, Inc.
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Cambridge, OH 43725
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