Diseases Home > Basic Info on Sarcoidosis


Sarcoidosis has an active and a nonactive phase:
  • In the active phase, the granulomas form and grow. In this phase, symptoms can develop, and scar tissue can form in the organs where the granulomas occur.
  • In the nonactive phase of sarcoidosis, the inflammation goes down, and the granulomas stay the same size or shrink. The scars may remain and cause symptoms.

What Causes It?

The cause of sarcoidosis is unknown. Doctors think that it may result when your immune system overreacts to some kind of foreign substance. Scientists also think that your immune system acts this way only if you have inherited a certain combination of genes.
There is no known way to prevent sarcoidosis.
(Click Causes of Sarcoidosis for more information.)

Symptoms of Sarcoidosis

Many people with sarcoidosis have no symptoms. Symptoms usually depend on which organs the disease affects. Symptoms in the lungs and lymph nodes include:
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dry cough
  • Wheezing
  • Enlarged and sometimes tender lymph nodes.
Changes in sarcoidosis usually occur slowly (for example, over months). Sarcoidosis does not usually cause sudden illness. However, some symptoms may occur suddenly. They include:
  • Disturbed heart rhythms
  • Arthritis in the ankles
  • Eye problems.
In some serious cases in which vital organs are affected, sarcoidosis can result in death.
(Click Sarcoidosis Symptoms for more information.)
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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