Sarcoidosis is described as a “rare condition” by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, a division of U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Yet, there are around 200,000 people in the United States who are currently affected by the disease. Though the severity of the disease can vary, if your aging relative is impacted by sarcoidosis, knowing more about it can help you to be a more effective caregiver.
What is Sarcoidosis?
Sarcoidosis is a disease that causes the body to develop granulomas in various parts of the body. Granulomas are clusters of inflammatory cells. They most often form in the lungs, eyes, skin, and lymph nodes.
In some cases, sarcoidosis has only a minor effect. It may not even require treatment. However, for others, the disease can be more severe. They may suffer from it for years and it can also cause damage to major organs.
The cause of sarcoidosis is unknown, but several risk factors have been identified. Risk factors are things that make a person more likely to get the condition. Some of the risk factors for sarcoidosis are:
- Age: People of any age can develop the disease, but it is most often diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 40.
- Gender: Women get sarcoidosis more often than men do.
- Race: African-Americans get sarcoidosis more often than Caucasians. The disease is also more likely to be severe in African-Americans.
- Family History: Having a relative with sarcoidosis increases the likelihood of developing it.
The symptoms of sarcoidosis depend on the part of the body that is affected by the disease. They can appear gradually or happen very suddenly. In some cases, people with sarcoidosis don’t have any symptoms, but the disease is found when tests for other conditions are performed, such as x-rays.
General symptoms of sarcoidosis include:
- Weight loss.
- Swelling in the lymph nodes.
For some people, sarcoidosis results in long-term health issues that can be difficult to deal with. Some of the things that can happen, depending on where sarcoidosis strikes, are:
- Scarring in the lungs that makes it hard to breathe.
- Vision problems, including blindness.
- Problems with processing calcium, which can cause kidney failure.
- Irregular heartbeat and other heart problems.
If your aging relative has sarcoidosis or long-term issues caused by sarcoidosis, elderly care can assist them to live a better quality of life and stay as healthy as possible. Elderly care providers can cook healthy, balanced meals to ensure they get the nutrients they need. Elderly care providers can also assist with tasks that might be difficult because of health problems, including cleaning, laundry, and running errands.
The staff at Home Care Matters is available to talk with you and your family about all of your needs. Home Care Matters is a home care agency providing quality and affordable elderly care in Cumming, GA and the surrounding areas. Call (678) 828-2195 for more information.