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Types of Sarcoidosis

There are many types of sarcoidosis, a condition in which abnormal masses or nodules form in different parts of the body and cause inflammation. These masses, called granulomas, can disrupt the normal functioning of the affected organ, most commonly the lungs, skin and lymph nodes, heart, eyes, brain, and liver.

Symptoms for sarcoidosis vary, depending on the part of the body that is involved. A majority of people with sarcoidosis have mild symptoms that may not require any treatment. If symptoms worsen or affect normal function, doctors at NYU Langone recommend lifestyle modifications and medications as part of your treatment. Medications for most types of sarcoidosis include corticosteroids and immunosuppressants to help reduce inflammation.

Pulmonary Sarcoidosis

Pulmonary sarcoidosis, which affects the lungs, is the most common type. When granulomas form in the lungs, they can cause shortness of breath, cough, chest pain, and fever. If the lymph nodes are involved, they typically become enlarged.

In rare cases, pulmonary sarcoidosis can cause permanent scarring in the lungs, and lead to bronchiectasis—a condition where the airways in the lungs become inflamed. This can also cause excess mucus in the lungs and an increased risk of infections.

Cardiac Sarcoidosis

This rare condition can cause severe illness and even death. Some people with cardiac sarcoidosis may not have any symptoms, while others may experience cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, palpitations, and dizziness. Some people may even develop loss of consciousness, severe heart failure, or abnormal heart rhythms.

Our specialists in heart failure, heart transplant, electrophysiology, and advanced imaging work together to design the best treatment plan for each person.

Skin Sarcoidosis

Skin sarcoidosis, also known as cutaneous sarcoidosis, occurs in nearly 25 to 30 percent of people with the condition and is more common among Black people. Symptoms can range from mild, with granulomas or lesions on the skin, to more severe, affecting a person’s quality of life and day-to-day activities.

Ocular Sarcoidosis

Ocular sarcoidosis affects the eyes, and symptoms depend on which part of the eye is affected. The most common is uveitis—redness, inflammation, and pain in the eyes and nearby tissues. In more severe cases, ocular sarcoidosis can cause more serious vision problems and conditions, such as glaucoma or cataracts.

Neurosarcoidosis

Sarcoidosis affects the nervous system in approximately 10 percent of people with sarcoidosis. Almost any part of the nervous system can be involved, including the brain and meninges, the spinal cord, facial and optic nerves, hypothalamus and the pituitary gland, peripheral nerves, and muscles.

Symptoms of neurosarcoidosis include chronic headache, facial paralysis, problems with vision, sensation, strength, balance, and bowel and bladder control. Treatment may depend on the severity of symptoms and what part of the nervous system is involved.

Hepatic Sarcoidosis

Hepatic Sarcoidosis occurs in the liver but does not usually affect the organ’s function. Most people with hepatic sarcoidosis do not experience symptoms or require treatment. If symptoms develop, they may include fever, abdominal pain, and weight loss. In a few cases, people may develop cirrhosis, or liver disease, which causes scarring and permanent damage to the liver.

Renal Sarcoidosis

Renal sarcoidosis affects the kidneys, and in some cases can result in kidney failure. Symptoms of kidney sarcoidosis include inflammation, the formation of sarcoid granulomas in the kidney, and the formation of kidney stones made of calcium. Our experts can help to prevent, diagnose, and treat kidney complications from sarcoidosis.

Sarcoidosis Affecting Other Organs

In rare cases, sarcoidosis can also affect the bones, stomach, and the reproductive organs. Your doctors at NYU Langone may ask you questions about your symptoms and conduct an evaluation to determine if other organs have been affected.