When popular comedian and actor Bernie Mac died at age 50 in 2008, it was disclosed that the cause of death was complications from sarcoidosis. His death raised awareness about this rare, multisystem disease, that can be fatal. The United States Congress declared the month of April as National Sarcoidosis Awareness Month in 2008 to raise awareness and to encourage research.
According to chestnet.org, here are some facts regarding sarcoidosis:
- It is an inflammatory disease that can affect almost any organ.
- It is an inflammatory disease wherein the immune system is in overdrive.
- Sarcoidosis causes cells to group together into clumps called “granulomas.”
- It is not known what causes sarcoidosis.
- It is estimated that over 200,000 with sarcoidosis living in the U.S.
- Sarcoidosis can affect any age, but 70% of patients are between the ages of 20 and 40.
- In more than half of cases, sarcoidosis only lasts for 12 to 36 months and resolves without treatment.
- With good medical care, most cases of sarcoidosis are not severe and so not cause lasting damage to the body.
- The most common symptoms of sarcoidosis are shortness of breath and chronic cough.
- It is most common in African-American and people of Northern European, specifically Scandinavian descent.
- It is slightly more common in women than in men.
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