10 Tips for Kicking Your Sarcoidosis in the Butt

What is Sarcoidosis? Ever heard of it?

It’s an inflammatory disease that’s characterized by granulomas, or in layman’s terms, a collection of immune cells that deposit in organs of the body. For people affected by sarcoidosis, the lungs, skin, and eyes are the most common places granulomas deposit.

It’s a disease that is more common in women and African Americans, and typically affects people between the ages of 20 and 40.

Fortunately, most of the time, sarcoidosis doesn’t need to be treated and will go into remission on its own; however, there are chronic cases that cause uncomfortable symptoms.

If you happen to be one of those chronic cases, here are Dr. Nicholas Cohen’s 10 tips for treating the disease that is sarcoidosis:

  1. Know what the disease is. About half of the cases are discovered accidentally through routine x-rays. The most common symptoms include coughing or shortness of breath, eye pain, and skin lesions.
  2. If your doctor thinks you do have sarcoidosis, there are several tests to confirm it. You’ll usually undergo an EKG, a Pulmonary Function Test, an eye exam, urinalysis, a chest x-ray, and a basic evaluation by your doctor.
  3. See a specialist. Primary care doctors don’t see enough cases of sarcoidosis to be able to manage it as well as a pulmonologist would. In about 90% of cases, lungs are affected by the disease.
  4. Get routine monitoring. This will measure how active the disease is and how it specifically affects you. If you have an active case, it’s recommended that you see a doctor every three to four months. If your case is inactive, get a doctor assessment once a year.
  5. If you have a cough or minor lung impairment, ask your doctor about taking an inhaled steroid.
  6. If you have skin lesions caused by sarcoidosis, ask your doctor for a topical or lotion steroid.
  7. If your case of sarcoidosis includes joint pain, take an over the counter pain reliever, like Ibuprofen or Motrin.
  8. Prednisone is the most effective and most common sarcoidosis treatment. It’s not needed for mild symptoms, but for those with severe symptoms, it’s the number one choice for medication.
  9. Work with your doctor to prevent side effects of steroids—the most common include weight gain, bone loss, and high blood pressure.
  10. Lastly, believe in yourself! Sarcoidosis is a fairly common disorder, and in most cases, it will go away on its own and doesn’t need treatment. But in cases that are more severe, just know there are options. Talk to your doctor; they’ll be able to really help you manage the disease.

We are in no way the end all for medical advice, so be sure to ask your doctor before starting any types of treatments.

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