A Brief Description of Sarcoidosis and its Symptoms
DISCLAIMER: CONSULT WITH A DOCTOR BEFORE DECIDING ON A TREATMENT PLAN FOR ANY DISEASE OR INJURY.
Sarcoidosis is an autoimmune-related inflammatory lung disease. It may affect multiple organs in the body, including the lymph glands, skin, kidney, and liver, but most people experience symptoms in the lungs (and indeed, lung symptoms are such an integral part of a sarcoidosis diagnosis that it is ultimately considered a lung disease). In the progression of sarcoidosis, granulomas (inflamed tissues that form nodes) develop in different organs of the body, such as the lungs. The granulomas cause the symptoms of sarcoidosis through interruption of the organs’ ability to function normally or through impairment of the normal structure of the organs involved.
Some of the symptoms of sarcoidosis may include:
- Dry cough
- Shortness of breath
- Enlarged lymph glands (this often occurs in the chest and around the lungs, and in some cases in the neck, groin area, or armpits)
- Swollen, painful joints
- Tender areas on the skin (these areas may appear dry and scaly, or may just be red and somewhat bumpy)
- Unexplained weight loss
- Blurred vision
- Red or watery eyes
- Kidney stones
- Hepatomegaly (liver enlargement)
- Heart arrhythmias
- Hearing loss
- Mood disorders (depression, dementia, psychosis, etc.)
- Chest pain
- Organ failure
Approximately 15-25% of patients experience problems related to organs other than the lungs. In other words, the vast majority of patients who are diagnosed with sarcoidosis experience only the pulmonary symptoms of the disease. The treatments below focus on the lung aspects of sarcoidosis, but ultimately address the root cause of the disease, so other manifestations of sarcoidosis are likely to benefit from these treatments, too.
What causes sarcoidosis?
If you go to a doctor, they’re likely to tell you that there is no definitely known cause for sarcoidosis. It’s a “mystery”. While the doctor would be telling you what they believe to be true (and, to the majority of the conventional medical community, this IS true), the cause of sarcoidosis is somewhat apparent if you know where to look for the evidence. So here, I’m going to build a case for what ACTUALLY causes sarcoidosis, rather than just saying that “we don’t know” what causes it. There are scientific studies out there that demonstrate some of the potential causes of sarcoidosis. The reason may be different for different people, but here I’ll try to outline some of the basic points.
To start with, I want to point out the organs/systems that are most significantly involved with sarcoidosis symptoms: the lymphatic system, the skin, the liver, and the lungs. What’s something that all of these organs have in common? They receive and process toxins that enter the body or that the body comes into contact with.
The lungs do, admittedly, do somewhat less processing in some respects, but even they have to be able to handle coming in contact with toxins that we may breathe in. The lymphatic system is an important part of filtering chemicals, heavy metals, carbon dioxide, and other toxins out of the body; it must be able to pass these on to the bloodstream (and then to the liver) or into the digestive tract or kidneys for processing and removal. Finally, the liver is one of the primary detoxification organs in the body, and the skin, too, often picks up the slack on detoxification (when other organs, like the liver or kidneys, become overloaded with waste, the skin must pick up the responsibility for detoxification, resulting in skin problems like psoriasis).
Inflammation like that seen in sarcoidosis somewhat resembles other infectious lung diseases like tuberculosis, Propionibacterium acnes infection, and other bacterial, viral, or fungal lung infections. And, in many cases, inflammation occurs in response to some kind of pathogen or foreign compound (inflammation is one way that the body targets infections and toxins, after all). In fact, Some studies have previously demonstrated that some patients who had initially been diagnosed with sarcoidosis actually harbored a M. tuberculosis or P. acnes infection. In one study, between 20-50% of sarcoidosis patients were shown to have either DNA or RNA markers for M. tuberculosis.
Studies have demonstrated that some other inorganic toxins that may cause the kind of inflammation seen in sarcoidosis patients include:
- Ink and/or printer toner
- Thermoplastic polymer particles
Thus, based on this research, I would tend to believe that there are 2 main contributors to the development of sarcoidosis:
- Lung infection (especially one that may have been dormant or be present under biofilm in the lungs or respiratory tract)
- Heavy toxic load (consisting of chemicals, heavy metals, or other substances, or in response to the body trying to get rid of infectious pathogens through unusual means)
The treatments we discuss in other sarcoidosis-related articles are therefore based on the assumption that sarcoidosis is caused by these two primary factors.
Misdiagnosis of Sarcoidosis
Sarcoidosis is often misdiagnosed. Here are some of the other common diagnoses that have been or may be mistaken for sarcoidosis:
- Chronic beryllium disease (CBD)
- Lung cancer
- Q Fever (Coxiella burnetii)
- Cat-Scratch Disease (Bartonella henselae)
- Infections with Yersinia and Brucella bacteria species