Sarcoidosis is a multi system / multi organ disorder
More than one organ is involved and the body's systems can be affected - these include the musculoskeletal and nervous systems.
Sarcoidosis symptoms can be specific to the affected organ or system.
General symptoms of sarcoidosis include:
- Fatigue, tiredness, weakness
- Sweating whilst sleeping
- Feeling sick
- Loss of appetite or weight
In the many cases a patient may show or experience no symptoms of sarcoidosis.
Sarcoidosis: Organ Specific Symptoms
- Lung Symptoms
The lungs are an organ most commonly affected by sarcoidosis - symptoms include:
- shortness of breath
- chest pain (not common)
When the lungs are affected chest x rays are often used to help diagnose sarcoidosis.
- Lymph Nodes
Lymph nodes are part of the body's immune system. Lymph nodes are usually present in clusters in the armpits, either side of the neck, chin and in the groin. Lymph nodes in the neck are commonly affected. When affected by sarcoidosis, lymph nodes may appear as swollen lumps.
- Eye Symptoms
Eye symptoms include:
- photophobia - sensitivity to light
- dryness - occurs if tear ducts & glands are affected
- blurred vision
- red eye
- burning & itching
- 'floaters' - seeing black spots
A third of patients diagnosed with sarcoidosis will have their eyes affected by this disease. People with sarcoidosis should see an eye doctor. On rare occasions sarcoidosis of the eyes may lead to permanent eye damage and even blindness.
- Skin Symptoms
These include skin rash & lesions. Skin lesions occur in about 10-35 percent of people with sarcoidosis.
- Erythema nodosum lesions - in the form of painful, slightly raised bumps commonly found on the skin of the ankle & shins. There may also be a fever & swollen ankles. Erythema nodosum lesions do not contain granulomas. Usually of short-term duration - weeks to months.
- Specific skin lesions - can be in the form of bumps, ulcers or flat areas of discolored skin. They may itch but aren't usually painful. The head area (nose,eyes,scalp), back, arms and legs are commonly affected. Of a longer duration - months to years.
- Lupus pernio lesions - affects the nose causing disfiguring lesions. Often reoccurs even after treatment.
- Liver Symptoms
The liver is an organ commonly affected by sarcoidosis - granulomas (bumps in the skin) often form in the liver. Permanent damage to the liver is rare. Liver symptoms include:
- pain in the upper right part of the abdomen
- Heart Symptoms
Sarcoidosis can affect the heart - for reasons unknown it most often occurs in Japanese people. Sarcoidosis can cause the heart to pump weakly indicated by:
- a shortness of breath
- swelling of the legs
Sarcoidosis can also affect the hearts pacing & transmissions systems indicated by:
- the heart beating too fast or too slowly
- 'skipped beats' - irregular and longer duration between beats
- palpitations - series of rapid heartbeats in quick succession
- fluid buildup in the longs - rare
- sudden loss of consciousness - rare