The PatientLess

Questions and Answers - The Patient

Common questions, with answers about the sarcoidosis patient, by the late Dr. Om P. Sharma.

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

66. Who gets sarcoidosis?

Anyone can get sarcoidosis. The disease occurs throughout the world. Although it is more frequent in some parts of the world and less common in others, no race, sex or age group is excluded from the disease.

67. Why do we get sarcoidosis?

We do not know why some people get sarcoidosis and others do not. The best that can be said about sarcoidosis at our present stage of knowledge is that when a susceptible host meets an agent which enters the body, most likely by inhalation, sarcoidosis results.

68. Are there any other ways I can hel p myself?

You should follow sensible health measures. Do not smoke and do not drink excessively. Avoid drugs or chemicals injurious to your liver. Also, avoid exposure to toxic inhalants, dust, fumes, gases and chemicals that can injure your lungs.

69. Do I have to get rid of my pets?

No. You do not have to get rid of cats, dogs, horses or other pets if you have sarcoidosis. If you have allergies to these animals, then, of course, you must be brave and part with your pet.

70. Does the disease run in families? Will my children get it?

Family clustering of sarcoidosis has been reported, particularly in African-American families and is five times more prevalent than in the controls. In general, you need not worry about transmitting the disease to your children. However, much research is still being done on this topic.

71. Will sarcoidosis affect my life style?

Most of the patients with sarcoidosis lead normal lives. They carry on usual social, intellectual, artistic and athletic activities. Sarcoidosis, unless severe and progressive, will not interfere with your life style, nor should it interfere with the achievement of your goals. There are many sarcoidosis patients who are musicians, actors, sports celebrities, film directors, comedians, writers, doctors, stage artists, and politicians.

72. Will sarcoidosis affect my pregnancy?

Sarcoidosis should not interfere with pregnancy. It does not affect the unborn baby. Many women with sarcoidosis improve during pregnancy because their bodies are producing more corticosteroids. However, your doctor will check your chest x-ray three months after delivery to monitor possible recurrence of the disease.

73. Do I have to observe dietary precautions?

About one in ten patients with sarcoidosis has high blood calcium levels. If your calcium level is high, avoid calcium rich substances such as milk, cheese, and any vitamins containing calcium. Also, avoid direct sunshine along with calcium foods and tablets, if your calcium level is high.

74. Should I take vitamin supplements?

 Be careful about taking calcium supplements and vitamin D if you have sarcoidosis, but other vitamins are harmless. If your vitamin-D level is low then it should be carefully brought back to normal. Other types of vitamins are not found to be of value in the treatment of sarcoidosis, and unless you are taking excessively high does of any vitamins, you can continue your supplements. Do check with your doctor, however, before continuing with very high doses of vitamins.

75. Should I restrict my exercise?

If your lungs cannot keep up with you and you feel out of breath, you should stop and rest. But do not restrict your activities just because you have sarcoidosis.

76. Will smoking affect my disease?

Smoking does not cause sarcoidosis, but if you have lung disease due to sarcoidosis, then smoking may worsen your breathlessness by adding new injury to your breathing tubes in the form of bronchitis or emphysema. You should be aware that any lung disease can be further compromised by smoking. If you smoke, and you have sarcoidosis, this is a good time to help your lungs by quitting your habit.

77. Will drinking affect my disease?

Moderate social drinking has no effect on sarcoidosis, but you need to check your liver functions first. If you are being treated with methotrexate, do not drink alcohol.

78. Will having sarcoidosis affect my sex life?

Only if you have sarcoidosis of the nervous system, endocrine system, or chronic fatigue syndrome, might you experience impotence. Chronic anxiety and stress resulting from it can affect desire as well as your performance.

79. Can I travel by air? Will it have any affect on my lungs?

Patients with mild lung disease (and that describes most sarcoidosis patients) have no problem. The patients with extensive fibrosis of the lungs and pulmonary hypertension may need supplemental oxygen. In that case, your doctor will measure your oxygen content and advise accordingly.

80. Is it true that prednisone does not change the course of the progression of the disease, it only suppresses symptoms?

Prednisone suppresses granulomatous inflammation due to sarcoidosis. In some patients, sarcoidosis subsides while other patients might need prednisone for a long time.

81. Have any natural herbs or diet systems been found effective?


82. Is bone commonly involved in sarcoidois?

Small bones and feet are sometimes affected by sarcoidosis particularly in those patients who have long-standing skin lesions e.g. lupus pernio. Unusually sarcoidosis may attack the long bones, spinal vertebrae, sternum, and ribs.