Sarcoidosis — a Mystery Disease?



what in the world is sarcoidosis well you may not have heard of this fairly uncommon autoimmune disease but it can happen to anyone dr. Freda lewis-hall the chief medical officer of Pfizer is back we're going to discuss this seemingly mysterious illness thanks for joining us always a pleasure always a pleasure you know healthy immune systems learn to protect us from disease and infection that's a great thing but if you have sarcoidosis your immune cells may mistakenly harm your healthy cells leading to inflammation into tissue and organ damage now it can happen in anyone but it most commonly occurs in African Americans and people of Northern European descent and the reason we mention it as a mysterious illness is it can affect nearly every part of the body it can affect your skin heart eyes liver kidneys bones you're beginning to realize now that wherever these immune cells all clump together that organ system can be affected but that's not all it can affect even more than that it can even affect your brain and your nervous system but the most common area that's affected above all else is the lung and the lymph nodes in particular the lymph nodes that are in the chest Alan is a pharmacist who was stunned when he received a sarcoidosis diagnosis and Allen's case it was his heart that was damaged Alan thank you for joining us and we just mentioned that it is a so when were you diagnosed I was diagnosed about a year and a half ago and how did you have any idea something was going on well I'm a fairly active guy I'm a cyclist and I started having a hard time keeping up with my buddies while I was out riding and it got to the point where even climbing a flight of stairs made me so out of breath that I had to sit down and take a rest so I end up going to the doctor the symptoms mimic many other illnesses we don't quite know the cause so how did you finally find out that you had sarcoidosis well after a lot of the normal heart tests came back negative I went to a pulmonologist a lung doctor and they did a cat scan and found out that I had these enlarged lymph nodes in my chest and so they did a biopsy it was during that biopsy that I actually went into heart block and found out that I needed a pacemaker the symptoms are sometimes also very hard to discover so because they come on gradually sometimes they last for years sometimes they come on quickly and then they go away and sometimes people don't have any symptoms at all so what were your your symptoms what was your experience so for me the symptoms came on pretty rapidly and went away as soon as I had that pacemaker implanted and you know best part is I feel really great today and I now have a medical team where you know even my cardiologist has said to me I never see people this early in the disease progression usually they need a transplant by the time they come to me so good for you for getting it taken care of early and by getting it able to take steps to improve your quality of life now those with sarcoidosis they should be monitored regularly by a team and that team can help decide how often to perform certain tests that can monitor the disease this can include everything from breathing tests blood tests such as liver and renal function labs chest x-rays and of course exams of the organs we mentioned eyes skin and any other organ that might be involved now it's so important for people who have sarcoidosis you heard all those symptoms and many doctors may be involved to have a good system to keep track of all of your medical information and of course if you want more information on sarcoidosis you can go to get healthy stay healthy.com and Alan I want to thank you personally for sharing of course you can always visit the doctors tv.com for more information we'll be right back [Applause]

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