Skip banner links and go to contentU.S. Department of Health & Human Services * National Institutes of Health
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute:  Diseases and Conditions Index
Tell us what you think about this site
  Enter keywords to search this site. (Click here for Search Tips)  
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services National Institutes of Health Diseases and Conditions Index NIH Home NHLBI Home About This Site NHLBI Home NHLBI Home Link to Spanish DCI Tell us what you think
 DCI Home: Lung Diseases: Sarcoidosis: Signs & Symptoms

Skip navigation and go to content
What Is ...
Who Is At Risk
Signs & Symptoms
Living With
Key Points

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Sarcoidosis?

Many people who have sarcoidosis have no symptoms or mild symptoms. Often, the disease is found during a chest x ray done for another reason (for example, to diagnose pneumonia).

The signs and symptoms of sarcoidosis vary depending on which organs are affected. Signs and symptoms also may vary depending on your gender, age, and ethnic background. (For more information, see "Who Is At Risk for Sarcoidosis?")

Common Signs and Symptoms

In both adults and children, the disease most often affects the lungs. If granulomas (inflamed lumps) form in your lungs, you may wheeze, cough, feel short of breath, or have chest pain. Or, you may have no symptoms at all.

Some people who have sarcoidosis feel very fatigued (tired), uneasy, or depressed. Night sweats and weight loss are common symptoms of the disease.

Common signs and symptoms in children are fatigue, loss of appetite, weight loss, bone and joint pain, and anemia. Children who are younger than 4 years old may have a distinct form of sarcoidosis. It may cause enlarged lymph nodes in the chest (which can be seen on a chest x ray), skin lesions, and eye swelling or redness.

Other Signs and Symptoms

Sarcoidosis may affect your lymph nodes. The disease can cause enlarged lymph nodes that feel tender. Sarcoidosis usually affects the lymph nodes in your neck and chest. However, the disease also may affect the lymph nodes under your chin, in your armpits, or in your groin.

Sarcoidosis can cause lumps, ulcers, or areas of discolored skin. They may itch, but they don't hurt. These signs tend to appear on your back, arms, legs, and scalp. Sometimes they appear near your nose or eyes. These signs usually last a long time.

Sarcoidosis may cause a more serious skin condition called lupus pernio. Disfiguring skin sores may affect your nose, nasal passages, cheeks, ears, eyelids, and fingers. These sores tend to be ongoing. They can return after treatment is over.

Sarcoidosis also can cause eye problems. If you have sarcoidosis, it's important to have an annual eye exam. If you have changes in your vision and can't see as clearly or can't see color, call 9–1–1 or have someone drive you to the emergency room.

You should call your doctor if you have any new eye symptoms, such as burning, itching, tearing, pain, or sensitivity to light.

Signs and symptoms of sarcoidosis also may include an enlarged liver, spleen, or salivary glands.

Although less common, sarcoidosis can affect the heart and brain. This can cause a number of symptoms, such as abnormal heartbeats, shortness of breath, headaches, and vision problems. If sarcoidosis affects the heart or brain, serious complications can occur.

Lofgren's Syndrome

Lofgren's syndrome is a classic set of signs and symptoms that appear in some people when they first develop sarcoidosis. Signs and symptoms may include:

  • Fever. This symptom only occurs in some people.
  • Enlarged lymph nodes (which can be seen on a chest x ray).
  • Arthritis, usually in the ankles. This symptom is more common in men.
  • Erythema nodosum. This is a rash of red or reddish-purple bumps on your ankles and shins. The rash may be warm and tender to the touch. This symptom is more common in women.

Sarcoidosis Signs and Symptoms

The illustration shows the major signs and symptoms of sarcoidosis (as described in this section) and the organs involved.

The illustration shows the major signs and symptoms of sarcoidosis and the organs involved.

Who Is At RiskPrevious  NextDiagnosis

Email this Page Email all Sections Print all Sections Print all Sections of this Topic

Skip bottom navigation and go back to top
Department of Health and Human Services National Institutes of Health National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
Blood Diseases | Heart and Blood Vessel Diseases | Lung Diseases | Sleep Disorders
NHLBI Privacy Statement | NHLBI Accessibility Policy
NIH Home | NHLBI Home | DCI Home | About DCI | Search
About NHLBI | Contact NHLBI

Note to users of screen readers and other assistive technologies: please report your problems here.