Sarcoidosis is an immune system disorder that can affect one or more organs in the body. It causes inflammation, which results in formation of abnormal lumps or nodules (called granulomas) in one or more organs of the body. The exact cause of the disease is not known and there is no cure for it. In many people, however, the disease goes into remission. The term “remission” means that the disease isn't active, but there is a possibility that it can return. Although, doctors do not know any way to prevent the disease, progression of the disease and relapse can be prevented or delayed.
Quit smoking: Sarcoidosis can affect any organ, especially the lungs. Lungs are affected in about 90% of the patients. Smoking has many deleterious effects on lungs. Hence, people with sarcoidosis should stop smoking and avoid second-hand smoke.
Medications: Taking medications as directed is important to control symptoms and prevent relapse. Medication is not needed during remission period and has to be started when there are symptoms of a flare-up. Most patients are given a steroid medication like prednisone.
Follow-up appointments: Going for regular appointments with a lung doctor (pulmonologist) is important in sarcoidosis. Regular follow-up with a pulmonologist (every six months or once a year) can help to prevent sarcoidosis flare-up. The doctors will do chest x-rays and look for signs suggestive of flare-up.
Know your symptoms: Discuss with your doctor about symptoms that may indicate a relapse. Also, inform your doctor of any new symptoms as sarcoidosis is known to have relapse and remission. Some signs suggestive of relapse or flare-up include new persistent or recurrent coughing, unusual fatigue and blurry vision. Rather than ignoring these symptoms, call the doctor immediately.
Practice relaxation techniques: According to some experts, some patients have flare-ups or relapse due to stress and anxiety. Practicing relaxation techniques can help to prevent a flare-up or relapse by controlling stress and anxiety.
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