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 and fever
- symptoms associated with the specific organ that is involved
The lungs are the most common organ affected by sarcoidosis, but any organ can be affected, and 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.
Enlargement of various lymph nodes can occur, especially the lymph nodes in the chest.
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 usually detected incidentally, but occasionally 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 40% of sarcoidosis patients and can be difficult to diagnose. Heart involvement can occur without symptoms, can present with heart rhythm abnormalities (too fast or too slow) 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 be involved with granulomas. People with salivary involvement of their sarcoidosis may have trouble with a dry mouth.