What is sarcoidosis?

Sarcoidosis is a rare chronic inflammatory disease which results in granulomas (small, round, inflammatory growths) that can affect any organ of the body. In young children (4 years or younger), usually the skin, joints and eyes are affected. In older children, it’ the lungs, lymph nodes and eyes that are the ones predominantly invaded.

What causes sarcoidosis? 

While the exact cause is unknown, it appears that Sarcoidosis is an exaggerated response of the immune system (autoimmune disease) triggered, in a genetically susceptible child/family by a viral or bacterial infection, a chemical or a drug.
Family clusters occur more frequently in children of African American families  (19% of cases). Most cases in the USA have been reported in the southeastern and south central states.

What are the symptoms of sarcoidosis?

 Symptoms can vary in severity from having no symptoms to fever, red skin patches, swollen lymph nodes, weight loss, fatigue, cough breathing and other lung problems, vision difficulties, joint swelling and/or muscle pain and other symptoms depending on which organ is involved.   

What are sarcoidosis care options? 

In many cases (approximately 50% of cases) sarcoidosis will resolve on its own over time. Treatment is symptomatic and supportive. More severe cases can be treated with medications (corticosteroids or other drugs to regulate the immune system), anti-inflammatory drugs, physical and occupational therapy. The psychosocial needs of both child and family may be addressed individually or through group therapy.

Reviewed by: Jack Wolfsdorf, MD, FAAP

This page was last updated on: March 20, 2019 03:58 PM