Sarcoidosis – What Is It?

As we publish different articles on arthritis, we frequently get questions about other related diseases and conditions.

One such common inquiry is about a condition called sarcoidosis. This inflammatory condition is frustrating and painful for the 4 in 10,000 people who suffer from it, and not just because of the symptoms and complications.

Sarcoidosis is a generalized inflammation process that occurs in many of the organs of the body, differentiating it from arthritis. While it can cause joint pain, it isn’t characterized by the immune system attacking the joints and connective tissues of the body.

Instead, granuloma (or small nodules) start to form within and all around different organs, particularly the lymph nodes and lungs. This causes these organs to then show diminished functioning, and the sufferer would typically see fatigue, excess coughing, and infection-like symptoms such swollen lymph glands, and pain to start.

Also commonly noticed with this condition are symptoms involving the kidneys and liver, and brain, and can even progress to include heart failure, seizure, and acute psychosis or dementia.

Because these and other associated symptoms are common in a number of other disease processes like infections, cancer, chronic liver disease, pulmonary hypertension and others, it can be really difficult to diagnose at first. And, it generally winds up as a process of elimination, as so many auto-immune processes are.

This is one of the non-symptom frustrations that people who suffer from sarcoidosis frequently suffer, because of the time involved in tracking down the real culprit. There is no one standard test that will come up positive, like a strep screen to see infection or an x-ray to see a fracture.

Tests to rule out other diseases are generally what has to happen, and then you’d still typically see many other tests such as CAT scan, chest x-ray, and even bronchoscopy, which is a biopsy of the bronchioles in the lung to look for the granuloma.

More frustrating elements of sarcoidosis is that not only do experts not know the causes of the inflammatory process, they also don’t know how to resolve it. So they are left with what happens with hundreds of other disease processes, which is a best guess.

And when you have a best guess in modern Western medicine, you typically have a laundry list of pharmaceuticals lined up to help ‘treat’ the symptoms either collectively or individually.

Not that at least making the attempt to help people is bad, necessarily, but sometimes, as frequently happens with so many disease-treatment dances, you wind up with a couple steps forward and at least one step back.

There are a number of natural and lifestyle treatment options that doctors will frequently encourage, and have been seen to show very good results. While natural treatments aren’t going to cure the condition, necessarily, they can be an effective way to combat the symptoms until the condition resolves itself…which can happen.

Natural and lifestyle treatments can start with something as simple as drinking a lot more water. Lung function improves and granuloma are more easily dispelled by the immune system under optimal hydration, so this natural option is critical.

Diet will also be necessary to tweak since sufferers can, and do, see arrhythmias and other heart disease problems. Increasing the amount of omega-3 fatty acids in the foods eaten, such as more cold water fish, can help to protect the heart from the effects of the inflammation.

Other preventive measures such as making sure enough inflammation-fighting vitamin D is consumed and getting enough sleep at night are going to be really important, but make sure that with supplements, your doctor knows what and how much you are taking. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin and collects in the liver, which is already stressed out, so don’t overdo it.

Finally, if you are a tobacco and/or alcohol user, you need to stop. Not just consider quitting or cut back…you need to stop. Inflammation is caused by a number of toxic influences that can be generated from deficiencies, other diseases, and environment.

Don’t do the condition any favors by adding insult to injury. No good will ever come from smoking, and all it does is insult the lungs, which are already being damaged by the disease. Too much alcohol stresses out the liver, which is another organ sarcoidosis attacks.

For more inflammation-fighting superfoods and supplements, check out the guide to naturally beating Arthritis today. Arthritis Guide

by Shelly Manning

Glenn Seymour (182 Posts)

Partner & Director of Business Development at Stocks Institue for Age Management. I Promote Age Management strategies including hormone optimization, low glycemic index foods and exercise. I have spent my career in the healthcare industry.

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