Sarcoidosis Symptoms

By , PhD, ELS

The symptoms of sarcoidosis vary significantly between patients due to the size, number and location of the nodules that characterize the health condition. There may be one area of the body that is most affected – usually the lungs and chest area – or several body organs that may lead to specific symptoms.

Some people with the condition do not experience troublesome symptoms, and the diagnosis is made on X-ray findings alone. For other patients, the symptoms may be debilitating and require ongoing management for normal daily activities.

Often symptoms develop over a short period of time and improve spontaneously without treatment, known as acute sarcoidosis. Some patients find that symptoms gradually worsen over time to become more severe, known as chronic sarcoidosis.

General Symptoms

There are some symptoms that affect many patients that are considered general, as they are not linked to the formation of nodules in a particular area of the body. These include:

  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Headache

More commonly, specific symptoms develop due to the formation of nodules in specific areas of the body.


The lungs are one of the most common areas of the body to lead to symptoms, affecting approximately 9 of 10 people with sarcoidosis. This may present as:

  • Dyspnea (shortness of breath)
  • Persistent dry cough
  • Wheezing
  • Chest pain
  • Hemoptysis


Approximately 25% of patients experience skin changes due to granulomas in or near the skin. This may include:

  • Erythema nodosum: particularly common rash on shins
  • Lupus pernio - rash on nose, cheeks, chin or ears
  • Tender red bumps or patches on skin


The heart can be affected by nodules forming directly in the heart tissue, or due to changes that arise from nodules in the neighboring lungs. Cardiac symptoms may include:

  • Bradycardia
  • Arrhythmia
  • Enlarged right side of heart (due to lung changes)
  • Cardiomyopathy

Changes to the heart and cardiomyopathy can lead to potentially fatal outcomes such as heart failure and should, therefore, be established as soon as possible for appropriate management.

Nervous System

Symptoms that may arise as a result of nodules forming in or near nerves may include:

  • Dysphagia
  • Drooping of face
  • Vision problems
  • Hearing problems
  • Numbness
  • Prickling sensation
  • Meningitis


Patients with nodules close to their eyes may experience related symptoms such as:

  • Uveitis
  • Red eyes
  • Painful eyes
  • Dry eyes
  • Blurred vision

It is important for patients with sarcoidosis that notice changes in their eyesight to seek medical attention immediately to reduce the risk of lasting damage.

Other Specific Symptoms

According to the location of the granulomas, there are several other specific organs or areas of the body that may be affected. These include:

  • Lymph glands – swollen lumps under the arms, in the neck or in the groins, which are usually evident on with X-ray imaging.
  • Kidneys – increased concentration of calcium in the blood may lead to the formation of kidney stones.
  • Liver and spleen– enlargement can result in abnormal blood clotting factors and anaemia.
  • Bones – can be affected by cysts and cause significant pain
  • Muscles – can become inflamed
  • Joints – lead to chronic pain in the area


Further Reading

Last Updated: Aug 24, 2015

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  1. Judy Moyers Judy Moyers United States says:

    My husband died of Sarcoidosis 3 years ago. The only actual tests that the pulmonary dr.s did was the biopsy of the lungs from going down the throat. He was told that he had bronchitis and allergies and was sent home with inhalants and antibiotics. This went on for about a year. He was going in to work one morning and went straight to the hospital instead. The Dr.s said he would be observed for 24 hours and would be sent home. His oxygen levels kept the alarms going off and him without sleep. After a week and him getting worse, they did decide to do a biopsy from his side. They told me he would be out in a couple of hours but would have to have the breathing tube in his mouth until he breathed on his own. They did the surgery on a Saturday, I begged them to hurry and get the results sooner than they had predicted. He never woke up, the diagnosis was of course Sarcoidsis. We got the results after he was in a coma. The specialists didnt run exrays. About 3 months earlier I had my Internal medicine Dr see him he ran exrays. The report from the radiologist was half a page long and it involved a lot of terms like granulomas, masses, hardening of some parts of the lungs and several other mortifying things. When we took the report with the exrays to the experts and I should tell you that there were 2 different dr.s in the same office that had seen my husband. when the Dr came in he said that it was good news as it wasnt cancer. He said as usual that it was bronchitis and allergies that was the cause of his problem and sent us home with some sample packs of meds. and antibiotics. It wasnt long before my husband died. There is more but it doesnt matter. I just wanted you to know that was out story on Sarcoidosis. I am glad for the research that is being done. I sent all of money that was given to me when he died to the cause of this research. I am glad that some progress has been made.  I dont know that you would want to contact me for any reason. But if you do then my email address is
    Thank you for your time,  Judy

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