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What Is Sarcoidosis?
Sarcoidosis (sar"koi-do'sis) is caused by inflammation that produces tiny lumps of cells in various organs in your body. The lumps are called granulomas (gran"u-lo'mahs) because they look like grains of sugar or sand. They are very small and can be seen only with a microscope.
These tiny granulomas can grow and clump together, making many large and small groups of lumps. If many granulomas form in an organ, they can affect how the organ works. This can cause symptoms of sarcoidosis.
Sarcoidosis can occur in almost any part of your body, although it usually affects some organs more than others. It usually starts in lungs and lymph nodes.
Sarcoidosis also often affects the skin, eyes and liver.
Less often, sarcoidosis affects your:
- Tear glands
- Salivary glands
- Bones and joints.
Rarely, sarcoidosis affects other organs, including your:
- Thyroid gland
- Reproductive organs.
Sarcoidosis almost always occurs in more than one organ at a time causeing many symptoms.
Sarcoidosis has an active and a nonactive phase:
- In the active phase, the granulomas form and grow. In this phase, symptoms can develop, and scar tissue can form in the organs where the granulomas occur.
- In the nonactive phase, the inflammation goes down, and the granulomas stay the same size or shrink. But the scars may remain and cause symptoms.