What to expect if you have sarcoidosis

Sarcoidosis affects people in very different ways. It can last for just a few weeks or months (acute), or it can last for years (chronic or long-term).

Chronic sarcoidosis can last a long time, but might not get any worse. Sometimes, you might get flare-ups of your symptoms and need treatment. A flare-up is when your symptoms suddenly get worse.

Though sarcoidosis can affect many parts of the body, it’s unusual for people with long-term sarcoidosis to develop the condition in a part of their body that hasn’t been affected before. If sarcoidosis does flare up, it’s usually in the same area of your body and with the same symptoms as when it first started.

How can sarcoidosis affect you over time?

Over time, sarcoidosis can cause damage and scarring in the affected parts of your body. In the lungs this can cause you to feel more and more out of breath. If sarcoidosis is diagnosed early, it may be possible to manage it to minimise damage or scarring to the affected area.

Most people who have long-term sarcoidosis eventually improve and can have an active life. But in some cases, long-term sarcoidosis gets worse over many months or years. This can cause permanent damage to the affected parts of your body. Sadly, people can die from heart or lung sarcoidosis, but this is very rare.

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Last medically reviewed: January 2017. Due for review: January 2020

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.