Educate patients, families, and friends who have been affected by this life-changing disease...
Sarcoidosis is an inflammatory disease that can affect almost any organ in the body. It causes heightened immunity, which means that a person’s immune system, which normally protects the body from infection & disease, overreacts, resulting in damage to the body’s own tissues. The classic feature of sarcoidosis is the formation of granulomas, microscopic clumps of inflammatory cells that group together. When too many of these clumps form in an organ they can interfere with how that organ functions.
Sarcoidosis most commonly targets the lungs & lymph nodes, but the disease can & usually does affect others organs, too, including (but not limited to) the skin, eyes, liver, salivary glands, sinuses, kidneys, heart, the muscles, bones, brain & nervous system.
No one knows exactly what causes sarcoidosis, but it is probably due to a combination of factors. Some research suggests that bacteria, viruses or chemicals might trigger the disease. Although such triggers might not bother most people, it is possible that in someone with the right genetic predisposition they provoke the immune system to develop the inflammation associated with sarcoidosis.
The fact that a person is more likely to develop the disease if someone in his or her close family has the disease strongly suggests that genetics plays a role. Researchers have not discovered the genes for sarcoidosis yet, but it seems likely that more than one gene is involved.
Once thought rare, sarcoidosis is now known to be common and affects people worldwide. The disease can affect people of any age, race & gender. However, it is most common among adults between the ages of 20 & 40 & in certain ethnic groups.
In the U.S., it is most common in African Americans & people of European—particularly Scandinavian—descent. Among African Americans, the most affected U.S. group, the estimated lifetime risk of developing sarcoidosis might be as high as 2%. Most studies suggest a higher disease rate for women.
1. Supporting and educating patients affected by sarcoidosis as well as their family and friends.
2. Helping support research, finding the cause, and eventually, a hoepful cure.