Sarcoidosis: Little Known Autoimmune Disease
Sarcoidosis is a strangly obscure illness that many people have not heard of it, including some doctors. The reason it is not normally recognized, is because its symptoms are so similar to several other illnesses. Sarcoidosis; an inflammatory disease that causes growths known as sarcoids which are called granulomas; these are comprised of cells that form tumors due to inflammatory processes in the body. These growths are composed of cells that can affect various parts of the body: primarily the lungs, but can invade the skin, the lymphatic system, intestines, spleen, liver, kidneys, bones, joints, nervous system, optic nerve and on rare occasions can even invade the heart.
One who is experiencing frequent bouts with bronchitis and upper respiratory infections, shortness of breath and wheezing, should have their doctor to send them for a chest x-ray because their problems may be more complex than just an infection here and there. Some other symptoms of sarcoidosis can be sore or swollen glands in the face, neck and armpits due to inflammation of the lymph system which includes the salivary glands, shortness of breath is very common, asthma-like symptoms that do not go away and problems with memory due to the lack of oxygen to the lungs. The skin can be affected by sarcoidosis causing red blotches that can be raised resembling scars, or red rashes that can cause burning and itching. There is also a condition that often signifies the start of sarcoidosis called erythema nodosum which causes red to purple bumps to form on your skin. These bumps usually appear on the front of the legs and disappear in a few weeks, with or without treatment.
With so many different symptoms that can affect so many different parts of the body, it is wise for a person to keep a journal of symptoms, when they appear, how long they last and describe the pain in their own terms. One may neglect to tell their doctor about a rash on their legs when they have shortness of breath or an upper respiratory infection; making the journal a key in helping to diagnose an illness that has so many similar characteristics as other auto-immune diseases.
On August 9, 2008 the world lost a beautiful person who had sarcoidosis; his name was Bernie Mac, who at only fifty years old was one of the funniest comedians on television and an all around nice guy. He starred in movies and performed as a comedian before he got his own television show.