Get Treatment For Pulmonary Sarcoidosis

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Why Choose Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital for Pulmonary Sarcoidosis Treatment?

With over 50 years of experience in providing the community of Los Angeles with quality healthcare, our medical team will design the most effective treatment plan for pulmonary sarcoidosis if you struggle with this condition. If you choose Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital for pulmonary sarcoidosis treatment, you will receive the healthcare you need in a warm and compassionate environment, as we highly value the comfort and well-being of our patients. In addition, our hospital is equipped with state-of-the-art medical technology under which our team can diagnose pulmonary sarcoidosis with extraordinary accuracy.

While sarcoidosis can occur nearly anywhere in the body, it most often develops in the lungs and nearby lymph nodes. This is known as pulmonary sarcoidosis. The condition entails the formation of small lumps of inflammatory cells in the lungs, which are medically known as granulomas, and can affect the function of the lungs.

Usually, granulomas disappear by themselves within several weeks. Still, in the rare cases that this does not occur, the lung tissue will remain inflamed and stiff, and pulmonary fibrosis subsequently sets in, which is a more severe condition of the lungs.

Every year, approximately 25,000 people in the United States receive a pulmonary sarcoidosis diagnosis. Unfortunately, there is no cure for pulmonary sarcoidosis, but the condition can be successfully managed with the proper treatment approach. In severe cases, pulmonary sarcoidosis may last for years and can cause significant damage to the lungs.

In many cases, people who suffer from pulmonary sarcoidosis do not need treatment, as their condition is mild and will go away by itself. However, people with severe pulmonary sarcoidosis will be prescribed treatment, whose purpose is to keep the symptoms under control, prevent additional damage to the lungs, and improve the patient's quality of life.

Some of the most effective treatments for pulmonary sarcoidosis are:

  • corticosteroids: these are anti-inflammatory medications, such as prednisone, that are usually the first line of treatment for pulmonary sarcoidosis
  • medication that suppresses the immune system: drugs such as methotrexate and azathioprine help reduce inflammation of the lungs by suppressing the immune system
  • pulmonary rehabilitation: this program teaches you how to manage your symptoms, how to relieve your discomfort caused by pulmonary sarcoidosis, how to exercise, and how to seek support and counseling for your condition
  • oxygen therapy: because people with pulmonary sarcoidosis often have a low oxygen intake due to the damage caused to their lungs by their condition, they may be recommended oxygen therapy
  • lung transplant: in rare cases, when the lungs have been highly damaged by pulmonary sarcoidosis, the patient will need a lung transplant to replace the affected organ

Symptoms of Pulmonary Sarcoidosis

Most people with pulmonary sarcoidosis do not experience any symptoms and are not even aware that they have this lung condition. However, in severe cases, people will experience the following symptoms:

  • shortness of breath
  • a persistent dry cough
  • chest pain
  • wheezing
  • fatigue
  • night sweats
  • inflammation of the eyes
  • joint and bone pain
  • swollen lymph nodes
  • unintentional weight loss
  • blurred vision
  • light sensitivity
  • fever

Diagnosis of Pulmonary Sarcoidosis

The diagnostic process of pulmonary sarcoidosis begins with your doctor asking you about the symptoms you are experiencing. It is advisable to tell them everything you know and anything that seems abnormal with your health. Subsequently, if they suspect pulmonary sarcoidosis, they will order some of the following tests and exams, which are very useful in diagnosing pulmonary sarcoidosis:

  • chest X-rays: this test uses radiation to create clear images of your lungs and heart and will help your doctor assess the appearance of your lungs by looking for the granulomas that accompany pulmonary sarcoidosis
  • CT scan: by using radiation and a computer, this test will offer your physician detailed and clear images of your lungs so that they can see whether there are granulomas on the organs caused by pulmonary sarcoidosis
  • pulmonary function tests: the purpose of this series of tests is to assess the ability of the lungs to carry air in and out and are typically performed with the use of particular machines in which people need to breathe
  • blood tests: blood tests may be ordered to determine the amount of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood, evaluate kidney and liver function, and look for infection and other diseases
  • bronchoscopy: a long, thin, flexible tube with a light at the end is inserted in your throat until it reaches the lungs, which allows the doctor to see the bronchi, the central airways of the lungs, and a biopsy or bronchoalveolar lavage may be performed along with this test
  • bronchoalveolar lavage: a sterile saline solution is placed inside your lungs with the help of a bronchoscope and then suctioned out. The solution that was taken out of your lungs, which contains cells, will then be examined by a pathologist to rule out various causes of your pulmonary sarcoidosis
  • lung biopsy: during a biopsy, a small sample of tissue will be collected from your lungs and subsequently sent to a laboratory to be analyzed by a pathologist

While medical researchers are unsure about what the exact cause of pulmonary sarcoidosis is at the moment, they found that the presence of certain factors in your life increases your risk of developing this lung condition:

  • being aged between 20 and 60
  • being a woman
  • being of African or Northern European descent
  • having a family history of pulmonary sarcoidosis
  • infections with bacteria or viruses
  • exposure to dust or chemicals

Because doctors do not know what causes pulmonary sarcoidosis, there is not much you can do to prevent it if you are to develop it. However, because exposure to chemicals and dust has been connected with this condition, it is always recommended to wear adequate protective equipment when working with toxic or irritating agents.

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