Sarcoidosis is one of the most mysterious diseases the medical profession has witnessed in its history. It’s a glaucomatous disease characterized by small growths and lumps that produce swellings and tissue inflammations in any part of the body. This disease was discovered about 100 years ago by two dermatologists working independently. Dr. Jonathan Hutchinson in England and Dr. Caesar Boeck in Norway. Sarcoidosis is among the top misdiagnosed illnesses and is not well understood. This disease appears as an inflammation in any part of the body although its more prevalent in the lungs or lymph nodes. No one yet knows what causes sarcoidosis
In most of the cases the disease affects the lungs thus the name pulmonary sarcodiodosis. It may however affect any other parts such as eyes, liver kidneys, lymph nodes, joints, kidney, heart and brain. This disease is usually common amongst the Caucasian of European descent and also in the African American and especially the young people between 20-40 years. The cause for this disease still remains a mystery.
There are several symptoms that characterize this disease. These symptoms may not be very clear though and may actually be confused with general ill health or with other diseases or may be thought to be affecting specific organs. Almost a half of the patients may actually not have visible symptoms during the diagnosis stage and this usually complicates the diagnosis problem however some of the signs and symptoms with specific organ involvement include.
Dry cough with phlegm
Feeling of tightness in the chest
Lymph nodes- the lymph nodes become enlargened
They also become red and watery
small raised pink or purple patches on the face
Painful nodules under the skin
nodules on the bones
Muscle and joint pain
Sunken lesions on toes and fingers
Other symptoms include; irregular heartbeat, meningitis, dizziness, loss of muscle strength and nervous breakdown
The disease is often misdiagnosed by health professionals due to several reasons. As underscored earlier, no medical research has been able to unearth the cause of this disease. The agent that causes the diseases, the mechanism of inflammation, and the granuloma formation are some of the issues that are still unresolved until today although tremendous advancements have been made towards this end.
This disease also presents itself in so many symptoms that are actually characteristic of other diseases. Its effects on almost every other body organ and the widespread presence of the disease makes this disease escape diagnosis and often mistaken for another disease. This makes medical practitioners to administer wrong drugs to patients.
Most patients experience the symptoms way before they are accurately diagnosed since these symptoms often are unclear. This disease is thus often misdiagnosed and patients are usually told that they have cancer before the right diagnosis since the chest imaging for this disease is usually similar to that of cancer or tuberculosis
One of the most frequently experienced symptoms of sarcoidosis is fatigue that does not respond to sleep. Lack of concentration is another major symptom but neither of these symptoms is unique to sarcoidosis as they still occur in other diseases and can easily be dismissed by medical practitioners on the premise that everyone gets tired thus ignoring the major ailment
In the diagnosis of this disease, many tests are carried out on a patient some of which are too expensive and life assurance companies may not want to foot the bills. Due to the nature of the disease and the absence of symptoms during diagnosis, very expensive examinations and laboratory tests are carried out on the individual. From the physical examination, the doctor may discover tender lymph nodes and dry cough. The detection of eye problems may force the doctor to refer the patient to an eye specialist. These undertakings are sometimes too expensive and the insurers may not be too willing to bears the burden. The laboratory tests carried out on the patients are described below.
Chest ex -ray- This is a picture of the chest cavity and includes the lungs, heart, tissues that surround the chest. The doctor in this case is always interested in the enlargement of the lymph nodes.
Pulmonary function tests- these are tests carried out to on the respiratory system. They are usually done to check the problems associated with air flow in the lungs or the transport of oxygen from the lungs to the blood system. This test is very expensive.
Blood tests- blood cells are analyzed under an electron microscope to measure the functional capacity of the cells, the protein and calcium levels or any abnormalities in the functioning of the liver.
Biopsy- this is an advanced test that involves the removal of tissues from the liver, skin, lymph nodes or saliva for diagnosis purposes.
Most medical cover policies may not be willing to pay the huge sums of money involved in all these tests and it is even worse if the individual is not covered. The large amount of money required to carry out these tests makes individuals to be misdiagnosed since the doctors may not run all the tests leading to wrong medication.
BERNIE MAC’S CASE:
Bernard Jeffrey Mc McCullough (1957-2008) better known as Bernie Mac was one of the most celebrated American actor and comedian. He was one of the members of the ‘original kings of comedy’ along side Steve Harvey, Cedric and Hugely. He starred in many comedies and films including the Bennie Mac show that ran from 2001 through 2006 and won two Emmy award nominations. He did many other films such as booty call, pride, soul men, and escape to Africa among others.
His death in 2008 however shocked many. He had been diagnosed with an inflammatory lung disease- sacodiodosis that was reported to be on remission in 2005. His death in 2008 at age 50 was however caused by complications from pneumonia.
According to his sister, Mac inflammatory disease contributed to his death. Since he had the inflammatory disease, his immune system was compromised as he was given medication that suppresses the immune system and this resulted to pneumonia. During the time of his death, he is reported to have had trouble breathing and fever. However, his wife was not satisfied with the explanation pertaining the cause of his death and the medication administered and is reported to have sued the doctor.
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Le Mignot, Suzanne (2008) ‘Actor and comedian dies at age 50’