Diseases Home > Identifying and Managing Sarcoidosis
Your doctor can determine if you have sarcoidosis by taking a detailed medical history and conducting a physical exam and several tests. The tests used in diagnosing this condition may include:
- A chest x-ray
- Blood and lung function tests
- An electrocardiogram
- Magnetic resonance scan (MRI)
- Scans using radioactive elements.
In order to make a 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 would most likely have this procedure as an outpatient in a hospital under local anesthesia.
(Click Diagnosing Sarcoidosis for more information.)
Treatment for sarcoidosis depends on your symptoms and how severe they are, whether any of your critical organs (for example, your lungs, eyes, heart, or brain) are affected, and how they are affected.
The main sarcoidosis treatment is prednisone, a corticosteroid or 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 sarcoidosis if your condition gets worse while you are taking prednisone or if you can't tolerate its side effects. Most of these other drugs are immune system suppressants that can cause serious side effects.
Local therapy is the safest way to treat sarcoidosis. Localized drugs include eye drops, inhaled drugs for your lungs, and skin creams.
Regular follow-up care for sarcoidosis is important, even if you aren't taking medication, since new symptoms can occur at any time, and your condition can get worse slowly without you noticing it.
(Click Sarcoidosis Treatment for more information.)