ABOUT CARING HANDS
We are the Voice of Sarcoidosis Educating and Empowering Individuals living with and affected by Sarcoidosis.
Am I my brother’s keeper? Yes, I am. Am I my sister’s keeper? Yes, I am. We are in this fight together. We wear purple for ourselves, our families, our friends, and countless others across the globe to bring awareness to Sarcoidosis. We at Caring Hands Sarcoidosis Foundation do just that, CARE. We CARE by providing updated to information on Sarcoidosis. We CARE by lifting one another up in prayer. We CARE by sharing our stories and encouragement of not only how to fight, but survive. We CARE by being a support system to those who feel they have no support. We CARE by sharing resources of doctors, hospitals, and nutrition. We CARE by being a listening ear, a shoulder to lean on, a Kleenex to wipe away tears, and arms extended to hug. We CARE simply by being the CARING HANDS that are available as we all walk this Sarcoidosis journey together.
Written by Caring Hands member Lesley R. Caldwel
What is Sarcoidosis?
Sarcoidosis is an inflammatory disease that affects one or more organs but most commonly affects the lungs and lymph glands. As a result of the inflammation, abnormal lumps or nodules (called granulomas) form in one or more organs of the body. These granulomas may change the normal structure and possibly the function of the affected organ(s).
What causes Sarcoidosis?
The exact cause of sarcoidosis is not known. The disease can appear suddenly and then disappear, or it can develop gradually and produce symptoms that come and go for a lifetime.
Researchers believe that the disease is caused by an abnormal immune response. (The body’s defense system does not react as it should to a foreign substance "intruder.") In a healthy person, inflammation occurs as the cells of the body’s immune system come together to fight the intruder at an organ or tissue site. In a person with sarcoidosis, however, cells that come to fight end up clumping together into small lumps called granulomas.
t’s still uncertain which foreign substance "triggers" the body’s abnormal response. Some researchers suggest that fungi, viruses, or bacteria are likely triggers. In fact, cases of sarcoidosis have occurred in groups of people who had close contact with each other, as well as in recipients of heart, lung and bone marrow transplants. But, so far, no data have been able to convincingly and consistently establish this "infectious" connection as the cause of the disease. However, some types of bacteria have recently emerged as possible candidates and continue to be closely studied.
What are the symptoms of Sarcoidosis?
The symptoms of sarcoidosis can vary greatly from individual to individual, and depend on which tissues and organs are affected. In some people, symptoms may begin suddenly and/or severely and subside in a short period of time. Others may have no outward symptoms at all, even though organs are affected. Still others may have symptoms that appear slowly and subtly, but last or recur over a long time span.
Most common initial symptoms:
Shortness of breath (dyspnea)
Cough that won’t go away
Reddish bumps or patches on the skin or under the skin
Enlarged lymph glands in the chest and around the lungs that produces cough and shortness of breath
Fever, weight loss, fatigue, night sweats, general feeling of ill health
Other disease characteristics include:
Red and teary eyes or blurred vision
Swollen and painful joints
Enlarged lymph glands in the neck, armpits, and groin
Nasal stuffiness and hoarse voice
Pain in the hands, feet, or other bony areas due to the formation of cysts (an abnormal sac-like growth) in bones
Kidney stone formation
Development of abnormal or missed beats (arrhythmias), inflammation of the covering of the heart (pericarditis), or heart failure
Nervous system effects include hearing loss, meningitis, seizures or psychiatric disorders (for example, dementia, depression, psychosis)