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General Information about Sarcoidosis


Sarcoidosis is a multisystem granulomatous inflammatory disorder that typically affects the lungs. Sarcoidosis is associated with significant morbidity and rising health care utilization. Many patients with sarcoidosis require chronic treatment to manage symptoms. Corticosteroid therapy is the cornerstone of treatment in sarcoidosis, but can be associated with significant adverse effects. Steroid sparing agents are often used but may not effective or may be poorly tolerated. These medications suppress an individual’s immune system and can make them more vulnerable to other illnesses.

Currently there is a pandemic of COVID-19, a novel coronavirus that is spreading throughout the United States. The most common symptoms are cough, fever, and shortness of breath, starting 2 – 14 days after an exposure (the average is 4 days).  Some patients with COVID-19 do not have a fever at the beginning of the illness.  Individuals over the age of 60 years old or with an underlying condition are at increased risk for disease complications or death. Given the rapid rise in COVID-19 cases, we strongly urge individuals with sarcoidosis and their household members to take the following precautions immediately:

  • Limit non-emergency excursions out of your home to ONLY the following:
    • Groceries, Pharmacy, Health Appointments as recommended by your doctors.
  • Many doctors are now offering health visits via the telemedicine. It is recommended that you call your doctor prior to coming into the clinic to prevent exposure.
  • Continue to practice very careful hand hygiene, disinfection of surfaces and the guidance on this link to the CDC website
  • At this time it is recommended to continue to take your prescribed medications but please contact your doctor if there are any questions or concerns.

It is important to report any changes in respiratory symptoms to your sarcoidosis provider and your local physicians. Symptoms of COVID-19 are common symptoms that occur with many types of infections, including other viruses like influenza, and some bacterial infections. Your treating provider may arrange for COVID testing so please call them about any concerns about your health.

Quick Facts About Sarcoidosis

  1. Sarcoidosis is an inflammatory disease characterized by the formation of granulomas, tiny clumps of inflammatory cells, in one or more organ of the body. When the immune system goes into overdrive and too many of these clumps form, they can interfere with an organ’s structure and function. 

  2. While the disease can affect virtually any organ in the body including the skin, lymph nodes, heart, nervous system, and joints, over 90% of cases include lung involvement (Drent M, 2013.)

  3. Disease presentation varies widely. Most patients present with symptoms between 20-40 years of age (Drent M, 2013.) In the U.S., the incidence rate in African Americans is threefold to fourfold higher compared to Caucasian patients (Baughman RP, 2001), however the disease has been characterized in all demographics regardless of age, gender or race.

  4. Sarcoidosis is classified as a rare disease, estimated to affect 200,000 Americans.