Diseases Home > Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment of Lung Sarcoidosis
Many people with lung sarcoidosis have no associated symptoms. Possible symptoms of lung sarcoidosis may include:
- Shortness of breath
- A dry cough that doesn't bring up phlegm or mucus
- Pain in the middle of your chest that gets worse when you breathe deeply or cough (this is rare).
Changes in lung sarcoidosis usually occur slowly, over several months. Lung sarcoidosis does not usually cause sudden illness. However, some symptoms may occur suddenly.
Your doctor can determine if you have lung sarcoidosis by taking a detailed medical history and conducting a physical exam, as well as performing several tests. The tests used in diagnosing lung sarcoidosis may include:
- A chest x-ray
- Blood and lung function tests
- An electrocardiogram
- A magnetic resonance scan
- Scans using radioactive elements.
In order to make a lung sarcoidosis diagnosis, your doctor may also insert a long, narrow, flexible tube with a light on the end, called a bronchoscope, through your nose or mouth into your lungs to look at your airways and to obtain samples of cells and other tissues for examination under a microscope. You most likely would have this procedure as an outpatient in a hospital under local anesthesia.
Treatment for lung sarcoidosis depends on your symptoms and how severe they are.
The primary lung sarcoidosis treatment method is prednisone, a corticosteroid (anti-inflammatory) drug. It's usually given for many months, sometimes even for a year or two. When used for a long time at high doses, prednisone can cause serious side effects, including:
It can also affect the body's production of certain hormones.
Other drugs may be used to treat lung sarcoidosis if your condition gets worse while you are taking prednisone or if you can't tolerate the side effects. Most of these other drugs are immunosuppressants that can cause serious side effects.
Local therapy is usually the safest way to treat lung sarcoidosis. Localized drugs can include inhaled drugs for your lungs.
Regular follow-up care for lung sarcoidosis is important, even if you aren't taking medication, as new symptoms can occur at any time, and your condition can get worse slowly without you noticing it.