An uncommon disease of unknown cause in which there is inflammation of tissues throughout the body, particularly the lungs, lymph nodes, eyes, skin and liver. It occurs mostly in young adults.
Symptoms do not always occur, when they do, they include fever, generalised aches, painful joints, and eye problems such as conjunctivitis and uveitis (painful blood shot eyes). Sarcoidosis can also cause enlargement of the lymph nodes, breathlessness, erythema nodosum (purplish swellings on the legs), a purplish facial rash, and areas of numbness. Possible complications of sarcoidosis include hypercalcaemia (excess calcium in the blood), which can damage the kidneys, and pulmonary fibrosis (scarring of the lung tissue).
Treatment is not always necessary. Many people recover fully within two years, with or without treatment, but some contract a persistent, chronic form of the disease. Corticosteroid drugs are given to treat persistent fever or erythema nodosum, to prevent blindness in an affected eye, and to reduce the risk of permanent lung damage.