The decision on whether to treat sarcoidosis should be made on an individual basis - the symptoms of the disease and the areas affected can vary greatly between people.
Despite such variation, the majority of people affected by sarcoidosis have the acute form of this disease.
Treatment is not always needed. Up to 60 percent of people with sarcoidosis receive no treatment and still recover. However, those who do not receive treatment need regular checkups as symptoms can develop later.
Treatments are usually taken to control the symptoms of sarcoidosis, or to improve the function of organs or body systems affected by the disease.
There is no sarcoidosis cure.
Treatments do not always affect the long term outcome of the disease - a study found that 5-10 years after diagnosis there was no significant difference between those who had treatment compared to those who didn't (see references).
Where applicable, tests for sarcoidosis such as chest x rays and blood tests can be used to monitor the progress of a treatment.
Treating Sarcoidosis Affected Organs & Body Systems
The effects of sarcoidosis are often mild presenting no symptoms and an organ affected by sarcoidosis can continue to function normally.
In such cases identifying the disease in that organ is unnecessary and no treatment is given (see sarcoidosis medications).
The lungs are an organ commonly affected by sarcoidosis. If no symptoms are present, treatment is not normally given and people recover with time.
Progress of recovery can be monitored using chest x rays and breathing tests. These tests can also be used to diagnose sarcoidosis.
Eye drops are usually prescribed for sarcoidosis of the eyes. The eyes often respond well to this type of medication.
However, some medications used to treat sarcoidosis such as hydrochloroquine can cause eye problems and the eyes should be periodically tested by an ophthalmologist (eye doctor).
Steroids can be used to treat sarcoidosis of the heart. Heart drugs can also be given to improve the hearts pumping ability or to correct a disturbed heart rhythm. A cardiac pacemaker or defibrillator can be used to restore severe rhythm disturbance.
On rare occasions, a heart transplant may be needed if the heart is severely affected by sarcoidosis and doesn't respond well to these treatments.
Sarcoidosis medications are used to treat sarcoidosis of the liver - drug treatment can reduce the granulomas in the liver. Rarely performed, a liver transplant may be needed if the heart is severely affected by sarcoidosis and doesn't respond well to medication.
The skin can be affected by sarcoidosis in a number of ways (see symptoms of sarcoidosis). People with erythema nodosum lesions are not normally treated using drugs.
Erythema nodosum lesions usually disappear in weeks or months with or without treatment. For those who experience discomfort from the lesions non-prescription anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin or ibuprofen may be taken.
However treatment is often needed for lupus pernio lesions - another symptom of sarcoidosis of the skin
- Nervous System
Neurosarcoidosis usually requires treatment. In severe cases strong medication, cyclophosphamid is prescribed.
Treatment for neurosarcoidosis can last a long time as nerve tissue heals slowly.