Common questions, with answers about the sarcoidosis patient, by
the late Dr. Om P. Sharma.
66. Who gets sarcoidosis?
Anyone can get sarcoidosis. The disease occurs throughout the world.
Although it is more frequent in some parts of the world and less
common in others, no race, sex or age group is excluded from the
67. Why do we get sarcoidosis?
We do not know why some people get sarcoidosis and others do not.
The best that can be said about sarcoidosis at our present stage
of knowledge is that when a susceptible host meets an agent which
enters the body, most likely by inhalation, sarcoidosis results.
68. Are there any other ways I can hel p
You should follow sensible health measures. Do not smoke and do
not drink excessively. Avoid drugs or chemicals injurious to your
liver. Also, avoid exposure to toxic inhalants, dust, fumes, gases
and chemicals that can injure your lungs.
69. Do I have to get rid of my pets?
No. You do not have to get rid of cats, dogs, horses or other pets
if you have sarcoidosis. If you have allergies to these animals,
then, of course, you must be brave and part with your pet.
70. Does the disease run in families?
Will my children get it?
Family clustering of sarcoidosis has been reported, particularly
in African-American families and is five times more prevalent than
in the controls. In general, you need not worry about transmitting
the disease to your children. However, much research is still being
done on this topic.
71. Will sarcoidosis affect my life style?
Most of the patients with sarcoidosis lead normal lives. They carry
on usual social, intellectual, artistic and athletic activities.
Sarcoidosis, unless severe and progressive, will not interfere with
your life style, nor should it interfere with the achievement of
your goals. There are many sarcoidosis patients who are musicians,
actors, sports celebrities, film directors, comedians, writers,
doctors, stage artists, and politicians.
72. Will sarcoidosis affect my pregnancy?
Sarcoidosis should not interfere with pregnancy. It does not affect
the unborn baby. Many women with sarcoidosis improve during pregnancy
because their bodies are producing more corticosteroids. However,
your doctor will check your chest x-ray three months after delivery
to monitor possible recurrence of the disease.
73. Do I have to observe dietary precautions?
About one in ten patients with sarcoidosis has high blood calcium
levels. If your calcium level is high, avoid calcium rich substances
such as milk, cheese, and any vitamins containing calcium. Also,
avoid direct sunshine along with calcium foods and tablets, if your
calcium level is high.
74. Should I take vitamin supplements?
Be careful about taking calcium supplements and vitamin D if you
have sarcoidosis, but other vitamins are harmless. If your vitamin-D
level is low then it should be carefully brought back to normal.
Other types of vitamins are not found to be of value in the treatment
of sarcoidosis, and unless you are taking excessively high does
of any vitamins, you can continue your supplements. Do check with
your doctor, however, before continuing with very high doses of
75. Should I restrict my exercise?
If your lungs cannot keep up with you and you feel out of breath,
you should stop and rest. But do not restrict your activities just
because you have sarcoidosis.
76. Will smoking affect my disease?
Smoking does not cause sarcoidosis, but if you have lung disease
due to sarcoidosis, then smoking may worsen your breathlessness
by adding new injury to your breathing tubes in the form of bronchitis
or emphysema. You should be aware that any lung disease can be further
compromised by smoking. If you smoke, and you have sarcoidosis,
this is a good time to help your lungs by quitting your habit.
77. Will drinking affect my disease?
Moderate social drinking has no effect on sarcoidosis, but you
need to check your liver functions first. If you are being treated
with methotrexate, do not drink alcohol.
78. Will having sarcoidosis affect my sex
Only if you have sarcoidosis of the nervous system, endocrine system,
or chronic fatigue syndrome, might you experience impotence. Chronic
anxiety and stress resulting from it can affect desire as well as
79. Can I travel by air? Will it have any
affect on my lungs?
Patients with mild lung disease (and that describes most sarcoidosis
patients) have no problem. The patients with extensive fibrosis
of the lungs and pulmonary hypertension may need supplemental oxygen.
In that case, your doctor will measure your oxygen content and advise
80. Is it true that prednisone does not change
the course of the progression of the disease, it only suppresses
Prednisone suppresses granulomatous inflammation due to sarcoidosis.
In some patients, sarcoidosis subsides while other patients might
need prednisone for a long time.
81. Have any natural herbs or diet systems
been found effective?
82. Is bone commonly involved in sarcoidois?
Small bones and feet are sometimes affected by sarcoidosis particularly
in those patients who have long-standing skin lesions e.g. lupus
pernio. Unusually sarcoidosis may attack the long bones, spinal
vertebrae, sternum, and ribs.