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What are the symptoms of sarcoidosis?

Your symptoms depend on what part of your body is affected.

Symptoms of sarcoidosis include:

  • feeling short of breath
  • a cough which is often dry
  • tiredness
  • feeling ill or feverish
  • red, painful eyes with impaired eyesight
  • painful red lumps on your shins
  • swollen glands in your face, neck, armpits or groin
  • skin rashes
  • painful joints, bones or muscles
  • an abnormal heart rhythm or chest pain
  • sweats
  • fatigue that, when severe, can be extreme

Tiredness and fatigue

Feeling tired or fatigued occurs early on and is often the last symptom to go away. Fatigue is often hard to treat. It’s important people around you understand this. Take fatigue seriously- it’s a sign you should see a sarcoidosis specialist. 

Symptoms such as heart palpitations and unexplained breathlessness must also be taken very seriously. They may be due to heart disease, including sarcoidosis affecting the heart.

Acute sarcoidosis

In some cases, symptoms come on suddenly, but don’t last very long. This is called acute sarcoidosis. Common symptoms of acute sarcoidosis are swollen glands, fever, tiredness, joint pains and lumps or rashes on the legs.

Chronic sarcoidosis

If your symptoms develop slowly and last longer, this is called chronic sarcoidosis. This means that the condition is long term. People with long-term sarcoidosis may have fewer symptoms, but the symptoms can get worse over time.

Are there always symptoms?

Some people never experience any significant symptoms. In this case, you may only discover you have sarcoidosis if you have a chest X-ray for another reason.

Next: how is sarcoidosis diagnosed? >

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Download our sarcoidosis information (148KB, PDF)

Last medically reviewed: January 2020. Due for review: January 2023

This information uses the best available medical evidence and was produced with the support of people living with lung conditions. Find out how we produce our information. If you’d like to see our references get in touch.