Older Age Linked to Poorer Outcomes for Sarcoidosis Patients

According to a story from Healio, a recent study found that sarcoidosis patients that were diagnosed with the disease when they were older tended to have more severe disease and worse overall outcomes. The study also found that these older patients were more likely to have disease activity outside of the lungs, particularly in certain organs. As sarcoidosis is generally diagnosed between the ages of 30 and 50, it is relatively rare for an old person to be newly diagonsed.

About Sarcoidosis

Sarcoidosis is a rare disease which is characterized by the appearance of unusual aggregates of inflammatory cells. These aggregates are called granulomas. The disease can affect almost any part of the body, but it most commonly appears in the lungs, lymph nodes, and skin. Unfortunately, the precise cause of sarcoidosis remains a mystery. The prevailing theory is that it is the result of alterations to the immune response following exposure to a certain trigger, such as an infectious pathogen. Certain genetic mutations, affecting BTLN2 and possibly HLA-DR, are considered risk factors. Sarcoidosis is also associated with certain autoimmune diseases. Symptoms vary depending on the organs affected but may include weight loss, fatigue, bone pain, cough, wheezing, shortness of breath, chest pain, skin ulcers and lumps, and skin discoloration. Symptoms are mild in most cases and many patients can control their disease with ibuprofen. Other treatments for more serious disease include steroids, glucocorticoids, antimetabolites, and immunosuppressants. To learn more about sarcoidosis, click here.

About The Study

The researchers looked at consecutive sarcoidosis patient data from 1976 through 2018. This data was comprised from patients that were treated at the Bellvitge University Hospital located in Barcelona, Spain. The researchers counted elderly patients as those that were diagnosed at age 65 or older. 47 patients from the data set fit this definition and they were more likely to present with advanced stage 3 or 4 radiographic disease compared to the general sample. Involvement of the lymph nodes (23.4 percent vs 9.5 percent) and skin (17 percent vs 3.4 percent) was more common in this group.

Older sarcoidosis patients were also less likely to attain remission (35 percent vs 53 percent) and had a greater chance of fibrosis in the lungs (15 percent vs 6.1 percent). These factors combined meant that the disease was overall more life threatening to patients 65 and older. 

Check out the original study here.

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