Sarcoidosis is an inflammatory connective tissue disease whose cause has still not been definitively clarified. Sarcoidosis affects the entire body, but is particularly common in the lymph nodes and lungs. Also known as Boeck's disease, sarcoidosis is a relatively rare disease.
Sarcoidosis (Boeck's disease)
The disease Sarcoidosis occurs worldwide. Sarcoidosis is particularly common in Sweden and Iceland. Exact numbers of this disease in Germany are unknown, estimates are 40, 000 affected. Since sarcoidosis does not always cause symptoms, experts assume that the actual disease rate is even higher.
Nevertheless, sarcoidosis is one of the rare diseases. Other names are - according to the first authors of this disease - Boeck's disease and Schaum's disease-Besnier, for the acute form also Löfgren's syndrome.
Lungs, lymph nodes and liver are often affected
Sarcoidosis is a systemic disease that affects the whole body. Characteristics are granulomas - small connective tissue nodules as a sign of inflammatory reactions. These can occur in principle in any organ tissue, but are almost always at least in the lymph nodes and in the lungs. The liver is relatively often affected, a little less often, the sarcoidosis takes place in the eyes, the skin or the bone.
The type and extent of sarcoidosis symptoms depend on the affected region, and general symptoms are not always present. The probability of disease is particularly high between the ages of 20 and 40 years.
Sarcoidosis: course of the forms
In principle, a distinction is made between an acute and a chronic form of progression. The former is a sudden onset, but usually forms (in 80-90%) after a few weeks to months without further impairments. Chronic sarcoidosis develops slowly and initially mostly unnoticed. Symptoms that lead the sufferer to the doctor are often eye discomfort or changes in the skin. In about half of the cases the chronic sarcoidosis comes to a standstill, in the other affected it progresses further.
Sarcoidosis: causes unknown
The causes of sarcoidosis are still unclear. In principle, it is assumed that a pathological defense reaction of the immune system is present, which leads to the formation of numerous connective tissue nodules (granulomas). The exact trigger for this is not known; Among other things, substances that are taken up via the lungs and an infection similar to tuberculosis are discussed. Also, a hereditary component is suspected, which increases at least the susceptibility to sarcoidosis.
Although the nodules are benign, their number and localization can lead to impaired organ function. As a result, the granulomas can completely regress, but also scarify into dysfunctional tissue - but predictions about the course can not be made. Also, the drug interferon is discussed as a possible trigger of sarcoidosis, so this should not be used in a known sarcoidosis.