Sarcoidosis: What You Need To Know

UNITED STATES (WOAY) – It’s National Sarcoidosis Day, but many people may have never heard of the uncommon disease.

Sarcoidosis is an inflammatory disease that usually settles in the lungs or lymph nodes. Clumps of inflammatory cells form in the organs and the immune system goes into overdrive. Too many clumps can affect the structure and function of the organs.

“Most the time you’re going to see more of a cough maybe a little bit shortness of breath,” said physician’s assistant Trista Brunty. “It doesn’t always affect the lungs. Sometimes, it settles into the lymph nodes or even in various body parts.”

Most patients are diagnosed later in life. It’s considered chronic when it remains active for more than two to five years. Coal miners may be especially at risk.

“You hear about Black Lung, and that is usually a long-term effect of working in the environment of the coal dust…sarcoidosis is usually more of an inflammatory process,” said Brunty.

The disease is uncommon but life-changing, as there are limited treatment options and no cure.

“Treatment is going to be more centered on treating that part of the body that infected. If it’s in the lungs, we’ll treat [the lungs.] There’s really not a whole lot of treatments and there’s definitely no cure.”

There are over 25,000 cases of sarcoidosis diagnosed in the United States each year.

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Kassie Simmons joined the team in January 2019 as a weekend journalist. She graduated from Virginia Tech in just two and a half years with a BA in multimedia journalism. During her short time at Virginia Tech, she served as the editor for the university’s chapter of The Tab. Kassie was named the top reporter for The Tab at Virginia Tech on multiple occasions and made the list for the top 30 reporters for The Tab in the U.S. She also studied theater performance and minored in creative writing. Before coming to WOAY, Kassie interned at WSLS in Roanoke and the Tidewater Review in her hometown of West Point, Va. She has loved following breaking news since her childhood and has a passion for delivering the stories people care most about. Kassie is excited to be working in Southern West Virginia and looks forward to all the adventures ahead of her. You can follow her on Twitter at @KassieLSimmons and like her page on Facebook. If you have a story you think she should check out, send her an email at