Children's Hospital Colorado

Sarcoidosis

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What is sarcoidosis?

Sarcoidosis is a multisystem disease characterized by the formation of granulomas. Granulomas are growths of white blood cells called macrophages and lymphocytes that form a characteristic pattern. White blood cells help the body fight infection. Many other conditions besides sarcoidosis can also involve granuloma formation. While any organ system in children can be involved, the skin, eyes and lymph nodes are most common. In adults, sarcoidosis most commonly affects the lungs and lymph nodes in the chest.

What causes sarcoidosis?

The cause of sarcoidosis is unknown. There is speculation that it is caused by an infection because the symptoms and granuloma formation of sarcoidosis are similar to some infections. However, despite extensive efforts, an infectious cause has never been identified.

Who gets sarcoidosis?

Sarcoidosis most commonly occurs in adults from 20 to 40 years old. It is rare in children. In the United States, sarcoidosis occurs more often in women than men and in African Americans more often than Caucasians. It may be more common in family members, but it has not been associated with a specific genetic predisposition.

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