Common Questions - Miscellaneous 

Common questions, with answers on miscellaneous topics, about sarcoidosis, by the late Dr. Om P. Sharma.

Reproduced here by permission of the late Dr. Om P. Sharma

122. If a sarcoid patient is traveling overseas, what inoculations, should he take?

There are no special inoculations for sarcoidosis patients. They need the same inoculations as other individuals.

123. If I travel to Europe, Asia, Canada or any other country, would I be able to find a sarcoidosis specialist in case of emergency?

Yes. For the addresses, write to your local sarcoidosis support group. There are many such support groups exist in the US, UK, and Europe. Some of the addresses are in this brochure.

124. Who is the best physician to take care of my illness?

Sarcoidosis is best controlled by a doctor whose special interest is sarcoidosis. Since the lungs are the most frequently affected organs, a lung specialist is often the physician who treats sarcoidosis patients. There are many sarcoidosis specialists, most of them at major medical schools and research centers.

125. Where can I read more about sarcoidosis?

Your local chapter of the American Lung Association and the American College of Chest Physicians will help you with sarcoidosis literature.

126. What is a Holter monitor?

EKG and Holter monitoring are two simple tests to assess the heart activity and function sarcoidosis of the heart. While an EKG traces the heart activity over a short period, the Holter monitor is worn for a period of 24-48 hours and records the heart rate over a longer period.

127. I have Stage III sarcoidosis. Do I need oxygen?

Oxygen is needed when the level of oxygen in the blood is below normal. If the blood oxygen level at rest and on exercise is normal then oxygen is not required. Most of the patients with stage III disease have advanced fibrosis and have shortness of breath; these patients need oxygen. However, some of the patient with state III disease may have normal oxygen level. Staging of the disease is based on the chest x-ray abnormality. A chest x-ray may suggest severe disease, but it does not always reflect the functional severity of and need for oxygen.

128. Do I need a 'flu shot'?

Sarcoidosis patients with lung disease and those taking drugs that suppress the immune system should get flu vaccination every year. The best time to get a flu vaccine is late October or November, because most influenza occurs in January of later. The flu shot is an inactivated vaccine containing a killed virus. An allergic reaction may occur. You need to discuss it with your doctor if you have an allergy to eggs or previous flu injection.

129. I have joint pains in the mornings it usually goes away in a few hours. Is it related to my sarcoidosis?

Sarcoidosis may affect the joints in about a third of the patients with sarcoidosis. Joint pains and arthritis are more common than sarcoidosis. It is necessary to know what is causing joint pain in a given patient. In sarcoidosis inflammation of the joints can be acute and associated with raised tender, red nodules on the left called erythema nodosum. This type of joint inflammation subsides in a few days to weeks and requires no more than aspirin, Tylenol or other anti-inflammatory drugs. The other type of joint inflammation is chronic and last for months to years, and in some cases associate with bone lesions called 'bone-cysts' involving the small bones and joints of hand and feet.

Reproduced here by permission of the late Dr. Om P. Sharma

130. What is a pacemaker and why do some of the patients with sarcoidosis need the device?

A pacemaker is a battery operated device that regulated the heart rhythm in patients who either have very slow heart rate (heart block) or have an irregular rhythm that interferes with heart function. In a combined pacemaker-defibrillator device the defibrillator.

131. How is eye sarcoidosis diagnosed?

Every patient should have complete work up, including a slit lamp eye examination at the time the diagnosis of sarcoidosis is made. Many patients with ocular sarcoidosis have no eye symptoms. In a patient with uveitis, lacrimal gland enlargement, papilloedema, or other unexplained eye lesions, sarcoidosis should be considered a possible diagnosis and a chest x-ray should be obtained to find evidence of hilar adenopathy with or without pulmonary infiltrate. Lacrimal gland and conjunctival biopsies are very helpful in diagnosing sarcoidosis.