Sarcoidosis (sahr-koi-DOH-sis) is a disease in which small clumps of cells (granulomas) form in certain organs of the body.
Doctors believe the cause of sarcoidosis involves an immune system response to something in the environment. When the immune system senses a threat, it produces cells that clump together to form granulomas, which are a bit like tiny tumors. Granulomas can build up in an organ and affect the way that organ functions. Sarcoidosis can be found in just about any part of the body, but it often affects the lungs, skin, eyes, nervous system, heart, lymph nodes, and spleen.
Sometimes sarcoidosis doesn't cause any symptoms and is only discovered on a chest X-ray for another condition. In other cases, sarcoidosis can cause chest pain, breathing difficulties, dry cough, fatigue, fever, or skin rash. Severe sarcoidosis that goes untreated can eventually lead to lung damage, organ failure, and other complications.
Sarcoidosis is rare in young children. Many people with sarcoidosis need no treatment and improve on their own. Treatment, such as with steroids, is usually only necessary if the disease appears to be affecting the way organs function. People with severe sarcoidosis may need treatment for life.
All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical experts.
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