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Saturday, October 28, 2017

What African Americans Need to Know About Sarcoidosis -- And Why

What African Americans Need to Know About Sarcoidosis
Sarcoidosis is the growth of tiny collections of inflammatory cells (granulomas) in different parts of your body — most commonly the lungs, lymph nodes, eyes and skin. African Americans need to know about this disease because Sarcoidosis occurs more often in African-Americans than in Caucasians, and African-Americans may experience more severe symptoms.

What you need to know

More people are becoming familiar with the disease because it took the life of comedian Bernie Mac. It is also affecting more blacks like rapper Krayzie Bone from the the rap/hip-hop group Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, and actress Tisha Campbell-Martin, best known for her role on the ’90s comedy Martin. While no one knows what causes Sarcoidosis, it is associated with increased immune system activity and African-Americans have a higher incidence of Sarcoidosis than do Caucasian Americans.


Many people diagnosed with sarcoidosis never have symptoms, but symptoms can include shortness of breath and loss of lung function and sometimes permanently damage your lungs. In very few cases, sarcoidosis can be life-threatening if it causes heart or severe lung disease. The disease can be associated with flu-like symptoms such as night sweats, joint pain and fatigue. Inflammation can lead to scar tissue in the lungs, making them function more poorly. Many people with sarcoidosis also have skin and eye damage in addition to lung disease.

Why you need to know about Sarcoidosis

Only 30 percent or less of patients with sarcoidosis have symptoms that improve without treatment; most cases require treatment. Since the disease occurs more often in African-Americans, it can easily be mistakenly identified with just having the flu. According to The American Lung Association, if symptoms last more than 2 years despite treatment, the disease is considered chronic, and the symptoms may worsen quality of life. A few people with severe heart or lung disease require heart or lung transplants.

To learn more about Sarcoidosis, visit
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