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Check out any bumps on skin; RECORDwoman Be aware of dangers of sarcoiditis Vital Health.

MANY of us will notice little red bumps on our skin from time to time.

Thankfully, they're usually completely harmless and nothing to worry about, and will go away on their own.

But if they don't and are also painful or if you also have other symptoms, they could be a sign of sarcoidosis - a condition where cells clump together to form small lumps of inflammation and scarring called granulomas. These can develop anywhere in the body.

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The British Lung Foundation say that while about a quarter of the granulomas caused by sarcoidosis can be found on the skin, they are also commonly found in the lungs and lymph glands.

In addition, they can occur in the heart, nervous system, liver, spleen, muscles, nose, sinuses or eyes.

SPOTTING THE SIGNS When many develop in one area, they can affect how well that part of the body works, causing symptoms including breathlessness and a dry cough; fatigue or feeling ill; red or sore eyes; painful red lumps, particularly on the shins; swollen lymph glands in the face, neck or armpits; rashes, usually on the upper body; painful joints or bones; and an abnormal heart rhythm.

RISK FACTORS Sarcoidosis can start at any age but it's most commonly seen in adults in their 30s or 40s, and it's unusual for children to get it.

Researchers think there may be a higher risk of developing sarcoidosis in some people's genes. It is estimated to affect around one person in every 10,000 in the UK. UNCLEAR CAUSES It's not clear exactly what causes it, although it's thought to be linked to the immune system.

An environmental trigger may cause the immune system to attack healthy parts of the body.

IS IT EASY TO DIAGNOSE? Symptoms can come on suddenly and not last long, or can be gradual and long-lasting - a type of the condition known as chronic sarcoidosis. You can even have no symptoms at all. CAN IT BE TREATED? Depending on how severe the sarcoidosis is, and where it is located, doctors may opt not to treat the condition.

In more severe cases, steroids may be prescribed. But often doctors will monitor it to see if it disappears on its own.

WHAT'S THE PROGNOSIS? There may be flare-ups of symptoms, although most people with chronic sarcoidosis eventually get better.

For some, it can last for years, and cause permanent damage and scarring to affected areas, leading to further symptoms such as breathlessness if the granulomas are in the lungs.

There's no cure for the condition, but fortunately it's rare. ? For more information about sarcoidosis, visit www.sila.org.uk or call the Sarcoidosis Charity SILA helpline on 020 7237 5912.

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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Apr 16, 2015
Words:448
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