People with sarcoidosis may have no symptoms, only vague symptoms of a general nature such as weight loss and fever, or symptoms associated with a specific organ, usually the lungs. More than one organ can be involved. Up to half of people with sarcoidosis have no symptoms when the illness is diagnosed. Thus, the diagnosis can be difficult to make. Signs and symptoms associated with specific organ involvement can include the following:
Inflammation in the lungs can cause shortness of breath, wheezing or cough (often a dry cough). In some people, the symptoms go away; in others there can be permanent scarring and persistent symptoms.
Enlargement of various lymph nodes can occur, especially the lymph nodes in the chest.
Inflammation of the eye can lead to watering, redness, dry eyes, and sensitivity to light. Blurred vision can also occur. In some cases there can be eye involvement with no obvious visual problems; therefore, it is important that an eye doctor perform an eye exam regularly to determine if there is eye involvement.
Skin involvement may appear as raised, pink or purplish areas or as painful nodules under the skin. These deeper nodules are often found on the legs and may be seen with arthritis from sarcoidosis.
Nodules in the bone can be painful and can cause pain in the hands and feet.
Spleen and Liver
Enlargement of the spleen or liver that a doctor can feel during a physical exam can occur. Abnormal liver tests can also occur.
Heart involvement occurs in a small percentage of people and can be difficult to diagnose. This can include heart rhythm abnormalities and can affect the ability of the heart muscle to pump blood.
Brain and Nervous System
Granulomas can develop in the brain and the nerves and cause many symptoms, including loss of sensation, loss of muscle strength, headaches, and dizziness. Only about one in 100 people with sarcoidosis are affected.
The salivary gland can also be involved with granulomas. People with salivary involvement of their sarcoidosis may have trouble with a dry mouth.