Diseases List » Blog Archive » Friendly Fire: Living With Sarcoidosis, an Auto-Immune Disorder

Sarcoidosis is an auto-immune disorder of unknown cause. Granulomas (small lumps of cells) form on the body’s organs, producing severe inflammation. The most common organs affected are the lungs, lymph nodes, skin, eyes and liver. More rarely, sarcoidosis can affect the brain and the heart. Some people with sarcoidosis will exhibit no symptoms at all. Others may initially have symptoms such as a rash, fever, shortness of breath, fatigue, night sweats and weight loss at the onset of the disease. Often the disease will “run it’s course” and people will recover without having long term affects. However, a lot of cases are chronic, with patients going in and out of remission. While there is no known cure for sarcoidosis, it can be treated with steroids such as Prednisone. There are also lifestyle changes that can make living with sarcoidosis easier.

If you have sarcoidosis you should not smoke. Also try to avoid areas where people are smoking. While working around dust or with chemicals, you should wear a face mask. The treatments for sarcoidosis can severely weaken the immune system so avoid contact with people who have contagious illnesses. Maintain a healthy diet and exercise routine. Try to reduce your stress level. Take an active role your health care and establish a good relationship with your health care provider. People with pulmonary sarcoidosis should have occasional pulmonary function tests and/or chest x-rays. If seeking a homeopathic treatment for the disease, do so under the care of a qualified provider. Some natural care supplements, such as echinacea, can have contradictory effects on auto-immune disorders.

Stay on top of your mental health as well. Practicing yoga is a good way to calm your mind and body. People with chronic diseases often suffer from depression. Feeling sad, isolated, confused and angry can come with sarcoidosis. Speak with your doctor about a referral to a mental health care provider. Interacting with others who live with an auto-immune disorder can help give you a different perspective. Look for support groups in your area or online. A directory of sarcodosis support groups can be found at . If there are no support groups in your area you might consider starting one. Perhaps at your local hospital.

Chronic sarcoidosis can be draining to the body, mind and spirit. By taking the steps listed above, you can play an active role in managing the disease.

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