Sarcoidosis was once believed to be a rare disease. Today, experts say that it is quite common and happens in people across the globe. It occurs in people of all ages and across ethnicities, though it is more prevalent in people of African American and Scandinavian descent. It can also affect any area of the body. However, it most commonly affects the lungs.
What is Sarcoidosis?
Sarcoidosis causes small lumps, called granulomas, to develop in clusters in parts of the body. Sometimes sarcoidosis happens suddenly and goes away on its own. However, it can also be a chronic condition that develops gradually. It can even cause symptoms that pop up periodically throughout a person’s life. Although the granulomas may go away, they sometimes don’t heal. As a result, the tissue where they occurred can be scarred or inflamed.
Doctors don’t know what causes some people to develop sarcoidosis. There is some suggestion that there is a genetic component, but it appears there are a combination of factors at work. Scientists think it is possible that people with a genetic predisposition to sarcoidosis are triggered to develop the disease by environmental factors, such as a virus, chemicals, or dust. These triggers make the immune system overreact, making immune cells turn into granulomas.
How Does it Affect the Lungs?
Sometimes when sarcoidosis first develops in the lungs, the person may think they have the flu or some other kind of respiratory infection.
Symptoms they may experience are:
- Dry coughing.
- Feeling short of breath.
- Pain in their chest.
- Night sweats.
The granulomas that develop in the lungs can cause the airways to become narrower, making breathing difficult. They can also damage tissues and cause scarring. Scarring makes lung tissues stiff and damages the air sacs, which also makes breathing harder.
How Can Homecare Help?
Living with sarcoidosis in the lungs can make many daily tasks more difficult, but homecare can offer support that makes life easier. When your aging relative is feeling fatigued, homecare can let them save their energy for things they enjoy by taking over household tasks.
Homecare providers can clean the house, do laundry, prepare meals, and more. If the doctor prescribes medication to manage sarcoidosis symptoms, a homecare provider can remind the older adult when it is time to take them. And, since sarcoidosis may require frequent visits to the doctor, a homecare provider can offer transportation to and from medical appointments.