Our Services / Sarcoidosis

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About Sarcoidosis

Inflammation is essential for healing, but sometimes things go wrong, causing inflammatory cells to accumulate and form lumps in your lungs, a condition called pulmonary sarcoidosis. Joy Burbeck, MD, and the experienced pulmonary experts at Midsouth Independent Group (MIG) in Memphis, Tennessee, specialize in identifying and treating sarcoidosis. Their skilled management of chronic sarcoidosis helps you prevent complications and supports your ability to stay active. Don’t wait to get help for signs of sarcoidosis. Call MIG today or connect online to request an appointment.

Sarcoidosis Q & A

What is sarcoidosis?

Sarcoidosis begins when immune system cells that trigger inflammation clump together and create swollen lumps (granulomas). The granulomas may affect your skin, eyes, heart, joints, and other organs, but in 90% of cases, sarcoidosis develops in the lungs (pulmonary sarcoidosis).

In some cases, the granulomas heal on their own. But if they don’t heal, they can turn into a chronic condition that causes ongoing inflammation and scarring. Scarring stiffens the tissues in your lungs, which interferes with lung function and affects your breathing.

Sarcoidosis increases your risk of developing other lung conditions, such as bronchiectasis and pulmonary hypertension.

What causes sarcoidosis?

An infection may trigger the immune system’s inflammatory response, leading to the formation of granulomas. You may have a genetic tendency to develop sarcoidosis. 

You could also have a higher risk if you’re exposed to environmental chemicals and other substances that cause lung inflammation. Otherwise, the cause is unknown.

What are the symptoms of sarcoidosis?

Pulmonary sarcoidosis may cause lung symptoms you’d expect, such as:

  • Dry cough
  • Wheezing
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath

However, your symptoms may begin with fatigue or a skin rash that causes small, painful bumps on your head, neck, or legs. 

How is sarcoidosis diagnosed?

Diagnosing sarcoidosis often requires testing to rule out other possible causes of your symptoms. Your provider may order or perform any of the following:

  • Chest X-ray
  • CT scan
  • Lung function tests
  • Blood tests
  • Bronchoscopy
  • Bronchoalveolar lavage
  • Lung biopsy

During a bronchoscopy, your MIG provider guides a thin, flexible tube through your throat and into your lungs. Lighting and a camera in the scope transmit a magnified view of the airways and tissues.

Your MIG provider performs a bronchoalveolar lavage using the same scope to send sterile saline water into your lungs and to suction it out. The water carries out cells that can be viewed under a microscope.

How is sarcoidosis treated?

Your MIG provider treats pulmonary sarcoidosis with medications to reduce inflammation. In some cases, they may prescribe medicines to suppress your overactive immune system.

If you have difficulty breathing, you may need pulmonary rehabilitation. Pulmonary rehabilitation includes education and exercises that improve your breathing, help you feel strong, and manage sarcoidosis.

Call Midsouth Independent Group or request an appointment online to get expert care for sarcoidosis.