What Are the Signs and Symptoms of
Many people who have sarcoidosis have no symptoms or
mild symptoms. Often, the disease is found during a
x ray done for another reason (for example, to diagnose
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
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
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 911
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 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
- 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
The illustration shows the major
signs and symptoms of sarcoidosis and the organs involved.