Reviewed by Clara Restrepo, MD

What Are the Signs and Symptoms?

Sarcoidosis symptoms can vary greatly, and up to half of people with sarcoidosis have no symptoms when the illness is diagnosed. A person with sarcoidosis may have:

  • No symptoms (asymptomatic)

  • Only vague symptoms of a general nature, such as weight loss, night sweats, fatigue and low grade fever. High fever is less common, but can still occur.

  • Symptoms caused by the affected organ.

The lungs are the most common organ affected by sarcoidosis. However, any organ can be affected. More than one organ can be involved. Signs and symptoms associated with specific organ involvement can include:

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.

Lymph Nodes
Enlargement of various lymph nodes can occur, especially the lymph nodes in the chest, although these may not cause symptoms. Sometimes, lymph nodes can be associated with pain.

Inflammation of the eye can lead to redness, pain, dry eyes and sensitivity to light. Blurred vision also can occur. In some cases there can be eye involvement with no obvious visual problems. It is important that an eye doctor perform an eye exam regularly to determine if there is eye involvement.

Skin may appear as raised, pink or purplish areas or as painful nodules under the skin.

Bone involvement is often detected incidentally. Sometimes it can cause pain and rarely fractures.

Spleen and Liver
Enlargement of the spleen or liver that a doctor can feel during a physical exam can occur. The only abnormality may be seen on liver blood tests.

Heart involvement is thought to occur in up to 25 – 40 percent of people with sarcoidosis. It can be difficult to diagnose. Heart involvement can occur without symptoms. It can also appear with heart rhythm abnormalities (too fast or too slow). These can cause heart palpitations and lightheadedness. Heart involvement can also lead to problems with the heart muscle’s ability to pump blood or heart failure.

Brain and Nervous System
Granulomas can develop in the brain and the nerves and cause many symptoms. Symptoms may include loss of sensation, loss of muscle strength, headaches and dizziness. This affects about one in 100 people with sarcoidosis.

Salivary Gland
The salivary gland can be involved. People with salivary involvement may have trouble with a dry mouth.

Kidneys and Calcium
Kidney involvement is not common. It can cause kidney damage. In addition, calcium levels may be elevated in the urine, leading to kidney stones. High calcium levels in the blood can cause constipation and generalized weakness.

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