Many of patients with sarcoidosis have no symptoms, or have only vague symptoms such as weight loss and mild fever, or symptoms associated with a specific organ, usually the lungs such as cough and shortness of breath. More than one organ can be involved. Up to half of people with sarcoidosis have no symptoms when the illness is diagnosed. Therefore, the diagnosis can be difficult to make.
Inflammation in the lungs can cause cough, shortness of breath, and wheezing. In about 70% of patients, the symptoms resolved by itself; in others symptoms gets persistent and permanent lung scarring occurs.
Enlargement of various lymph nodes is a common finding, especially the lymph nodes in the neck and chest cavity.
Inflammation of the eye can occur in 20% of patients with sarcoidosis. It leads to eye redness, dry eyes, and sensitivity to light. Blurred vision can also occur. In some cases there can be eye involvement with no obvious visual problems; therefore, it is important that an eye doctor perform an eye exam regularly to determine if there is eye involvement regardless of presence of symptom.
Skin is involvement is 25% of subjects. It appears as raised, pink or purplish areas or as painful nodules under the skin. These deeper nodules are often found on the legs and may be seen with arthritis resulting from sarcoidosis.
Bone and joints
Joint swelling caused by sarcoid is self limiting and has good prognosis. Joint Nodules sometimes can be painful and can cause pain in the hands and feet.
Spleen and Liver
Liver and spleen may get enlarged during sarcoidosis activity. Abnormal liver tests can also be detected in blood tests.
Serious heart involvement occurs in a 5% patients, but asymptomatic involvement occurs up to 30% of subjects. Diagnosis and treatment of heart sarcoid is difficult. This can include heart rhythm abnormalities and can affect the ability of the heart muscle to pump blood.
Brain and Nervous System
Sarcoid lesions can develop in the brain and the peripheral nerves and cause many symptoms, including loss of sensation, loss of muscle strength, headaches, seizure and dizziness. Only about 5% of patients with sarcoidosis are affected.
The salivary gland can also be involved. Patients with salivary involvement may have trouble with a dry mouth.