What is Sarcoidosis?

Sarcoidosis is a rare chronic multisystem disorder in which inflammatory cells form tiny (too small to see) lumps, called as granuloma. Granuloma forms in different parts of the body like lungs (most common organ affected), skin (second most common), liver, eyes, kidney, etc.

Too many jargons! Let’s make it simple.

In normal course, it is the duty of immune system of your body to defend different organs and tissues, through its special cells, from external or harmful substances. Wherever there is infection or injury, your immune system releases WBCs (white blood cells) along with certain other chemicals into the blood or injured tissue. This process is called as inflammation. Normally, inflammation goes away after the harmful substances and infection are successfully taken care of. But if someone has sarcoidosis, the process of inflammation doesn’t stop and as a result, inflammatory cells form tiny lumps (granuloma) and gets deposited in various parts of the body.

What causes Sarcoidosis?

The cause of sarcoidosis is unknown. Experts believe it to be caused by trigger of your body’s immune system to external harmful agent, most likely inhaled from air. Genetics is also believed to play a role in who gets the disease and who doesn’t!

Who are at increased risk?

  • slightly more common in females
  • age – more common between 20-40 years
  • more common in African Americans
  • people with family history of sarcoidosis are at increased risk

Sarcoidosis doesn’t spread from person to person contact. Research about exact cause and mechanism is still an ongoing process.

Dr. Mukesh Joshi
 Chest Physician