A disease of unknown origin that causes small lumps (granulomas) due to chronic inflammation to develop in a great range of body tissues. Sarcoidosis can appear in almost any body organ, but most often starts in the lungs or lymph nodes. It also affects the eyes, liver and skin; and less often the spleen, bones, joints, skeletal muscles, heart and central nervous system (brain and spinal cord).
In the majority of cases, the granulomas clear up with or without treatment. In cases where the granulomas do not heal and disappear, the tissues tend to remain inflamed and become scarred (fibrotic).
Sarcoidosis was first identified over 100 years ago by two dermatologists working independently, Dr. Jonathan Hutchinson in England and Dr. Caesar Boeck in Norway. Sarcoidosis was originally called Hutchinson disease or Boeck disease. Dr. Boeck went on to fashion today's name for the disease from the Greek words “sark” and “oid,” meaning flesh-like. The term describes the skin eruptions that are frequently caused by the illness.
Sarcoidosis occurs most commonly in young adults (20-40 years of age). It is particularly frequent in African-Americans, one in 40 of whom develop sarcoidosis during their lifetime. It is also concentrated in Northern Europeans (Swedes, Norwegians, etc.).
Common Misspellings: sarcodosis, sarcadosis