Sarcoidosis is a disease that causes the organs to become inflamed. This disease can cause a person’s body to overcompensate in their immune system. When this happens a negative effect is caused and the result is damage to the body’s own tissues. The most prevalent aspect of sarcoidosis is the body’s formation of particles of cells known as granulomas. This occurrence will prevent the organs from functioning properly.
Treatment for sarcoidosis is usually not necessary in most cases, but this can vary depending on the needs of the individual person. When treatment for sarcoidosis is required the medications that are used can also cause harm to the immune system.
A person that uses the medication will have an increased risk of developing other health problems due to the weakened immune system. Surgery is not recommended in the treatment of granulomas. This will only cause worsening of the sarcoidosis condition. The granulomas will only form around the scars of the surgical area causing more negative results.
If major organs such as the heart, eyes, lungs or nervous system are affected then treatment may be required. In the event that this is the case, the main method of treatment is corticosteroids. A corticosteroid is designed to decrease the body’s inflammation. This will, in turn, prevent damage to the organs that sarcoidosis creates.
When prescribed a corticosteroid your doctor will usually start off with a high dose and then gradually taper it down. If kept at a high dose for a long period of time corticosteroids will cause severe side effects. The side effects of corticosteroid usage are acne, insomnia, increase in weight, and mood disturbances. Problems associated with long-term usage are diabetes, hypertension, osteoporosis, glaucoma, cataracts, as well as other medical problems.
Other medications used to treat sarcoidosis are immunosuppressants, such as methotrexate, azathioprine, cyclophosphamide, and mycophenolate mofetil, and antimalarial medications, such as chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine. These treatments attempt to reduce the immune systems attack on the body that results in the granulomas.
Additionally, there are new treatments that are sometimes considered. Some of these new treatments are tetracyclines, thalidomide’s, etanercept, adalimumab, and pentoxifylline. Further, depending on which organ is affected other treatment may be more appropriate targeting the specific organ.
Sarcoidosis patients require frequent check-ups to help monitor and treat their condition. Laboratory testing as well needs to be performed routinely. You and your physician can decide an appropriate schedule that is particularly geared toward your health. If a treatment is necessary you will need monitoring before and after the treatment that would include a thorough examination, x-rays, and blood testing. It is important to keep your physician well informed of any symptoms of sarcoidosis that are plaguing you as well as side effects from the selected treatment that you are undergoing.
American College of Chest Physicians:http://www.chestnet.org/
Foundation for Sarcoidosis Research: http://www.stopsarcoidosis.org/
National Heart Lung and Blood Insitute: How is Sarcoidosis Treated
Cleveland Clinic: How is Sarcoidosis Treated