Sarcoidosis, also known as benign lymphogranulomatosis (or Besnier-Boeck-Schaumann disease), is a rare inflammatory disease that is characterized by the appearance of a multitude of granulomas (small nodules of connective tissue) in the body. We talk about sarcoïd granulomas.

Non-contagious, sarcoidosis is a systemic disease: it means that granulomas can affect different organs (joints, eyes, heart, kidneys), even if they are most often seen in the lungs and lymph nodes.

The development of these granulomas is due to a disruption of the immune system : the immune system. Today, the reason for this disruption and its triggers have not been identified yet. It is likely that there is a hereditary predisposition for sarcoidosis, but external, environmental factors also seem to play a role in the onset of this disease.

The incidence of sarcoidosis varies according to age, sex, ethnic origin and geographical origin ... Thus, the incidence varies from 6 to 60 cases per 100 000 inhabitants according to the country and the ethnic group. In France, it is estimated at 6-7 cases / 100, 000 inhabitants *.

In general, sarcoidosis occurs in adulthood between the ages of 20 and 40, with women being slightly more affected than men.

The symptoms of sarcoidosis can be very variable. In addition to signs specific to many inflammatory diseases (fever, fatigue, joint pain, etc.), the symptoms of sarcoidosis strongly depend on the affected organ (s).

The great diversity of symptoms makes the diagnosis difficult. And sometimes patients complain for a period of time without finding a precise diagnosis of their problem.

The need to be treated depends mainly on the evolution of the disease: according to whether it is chronic or acute sarcoidosis, the treatment - and the prognosis of cure - varies greatly. Sometimes - thankfully it is rare - sarcoidosis can have very serious complications.

The prognosis of acute sarcoidosis is rather favorable: most often a cure is possible even without treatment, and without complications.

Chronic sarcoidosis, on the other hand, generally responds well to cortisone medications, sometimes other types of immunosuppressive agents. But in some cases, despite the medications, the lungs are increasingly affected by the disease and the person is more and more embarrassed from a respiratory point of view.

* Source: //www-sante.ujf-grenoble.fr/SANTE/

Editors: Dorothee Gebele, Dr. Nicolas Evrard

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