Sarcoidosis is characterized by the formation of small inflammatory cell clusters, called granulomas, in various parts of the body, notably the lungs and lymph nodes. It can also affect organs like the eyes, skin, and heart.

The precise cause of sarcoidosis remains elusive, but experts speculate it stems from the immune system’s response to an unidentified trigger. This trigger could be infectious agents, chemicals, dust, or an abnormal reaction to the body’s own proteins, particularly in individuals with a genetic predisposition.

Although there’s no definitive treatment for sarcoidosis, many people experience positive outcomes with minimal or no treatment. Spontaneous resolution is possible in some cases, but the condition can persist for years, potentially causing organ damage.


The signs and symptoms of sarcoidosis differ depending on the organs involved. It can manifest gradually, with symptoms persisting over years, or suddenly, with symptoms disappearing rapidly. Additionally, many individuals with sarcoidosis may remain asymptomatic, leading to the discovery of the disease only through incidental findings on a chest X-ray conducted for unrelated reasons

Sarcoidosis may initiate with the following signs and symptoms:

  • Fatigue
  • Loss of weight
  • Pain and swelling in joints, especially the ankles
  • Enlarged lymph nodes

Lung symptoms

Sarcoidosis predominantly impacts the lungs and can result in lung-related issues such as:

  • Prolonged dry cough
  • Breathlessness
  • Pain in the chest
  • Wheezing

Skin symptoms

Sarcoidosis can lead to skin issues, potentially encompassing:

  • Disfiguring lesions on the nose, cheeks, and ears
  • Distinctive areas of darker or lighter skin
  • A red or reddish-purple rash that commonly appears on the shins or ankles; the bumps may be warm and sensitive to the touch
  • Nodules, or growths beneath the skin, especially near scars or tattoos

Eye symptoms

Sarcoidosis may impact the eyes without presenting any noticeable symptoms, underscoring the importance of regular eye examinations. However, when ocular signs and symptoms do arise, they may include:

  • Burning, itching, or dry eyes
  • Light sensitivity
  • Blurred vision
  • Eye pain
  • Severe redness

Heart symptoms

Symptoms associated with cardiac sarcoidosis might involve:

  • Dyspnea, or shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Palpitations: a fast or fluttering heartbeat
  • Arrhythmias (unusual heartbeats)
  • Fluid retention resulting in swelling (edema)
  • Fatigue
  • Syncope

Sarcoidosis can also impact calcium metabolism, the nervous system, liver and spleen, muscles, bones and joints, kidney, lymph nodes, or any other organ in the body.

If you experience signs and symptoms of sarcoidosis, it’s important to consult your doctor.


The precise cause of sarcoidosis remains unknown to medical experts. However, some individuals may have a genetic susceptibility to the disease, which could potentially be triggered by various factors such as bacteria, viruses, dust, or chemicals. This triggers an exaggerated immune response, leading to the accumulation of immune cells in a characteristic inflammation pattern known as granulomas. As granulomas accumulate within an organ, it can disrupt the normal function of that organ.

Risk factors

Although sarcoidosis can affect anyone, certain factors may elevate your risk, including:

  • Ethnicity: Individuals of African or Northern European descent have a heightened prevalence of sarcoidosis. African-Americans are more prone to involvement of multiple organs, alongside the lungs.
  • Age and gender: Sarcoidosis can manifest at any age, but it frequently appears between 20 and 60 years old. Women have a slightly higher likelihood of developing the condition.
  • Family background: Having a family member with sarcoidosis increases your susceptibility to the disease.