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Sarcoidosis is defined as a systematic granulomatous disease that generally affects young to middle-aged adults, but can also affect older adults. It can cause lesions to show up on the liver, spleen, lymph nodes, heart, bones, and other organs. The main cause of this disease is not yet known, but there are a number of factors that could greatly impact the elder’s chances of contracting this illness, including:

  • Infections: If your loved one gets bacteria from the respiratory tract into the body, it could cause a systemic immune response. Some viruses, such as mycobacterium tuberculosis, non-tuberculosis mycobacteria, spirochetes, and mycoplasma could all be factors in developing sarcoidosis.
  • Abnormalities in the immune system: An imbalance in Th1/Th2 could result in sarcoidosis. The occurrence of T cell receptors may be linked to immune abnormalities and sarcoidosis.
  • Family history: If a family member has the disease they are more likely to also have it.

Older adults with sarcoidosis may need a home care professional to monitor their health and assist with everyday tasks that have become too difficult for them to do. The most important thing you can do to help your loved one with this disease is to educate yourself and other family members on what to expect.

 

Symptoms

The symptoms vary from person to person and some have no symptoms at all. If you do notice any of the following problems with your elderly parent, contact their doctor as soon as possible.

  • Loss of appetite
  • Fatigue or weakness
  • Lesions on the eye or skin
  • Fever
  • Pain in the eyes
  • Night sweats
  •  Wheezing or shortness of breath
  • Red and tender lumps or rashes
  • Vision becomes blurry and sensitive to light
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Coughing
  • Red, dry, or itchy eyes

 

Complications

As with any illness, complications can arise, especially for the baby boomer generation.  If a complication does develop, your loved one may develop:

  • Lung infections
  • Cataracts
  • Kidney failure
  • Glaucoma
  • Abnormal heart beat
  • Infertility or trouble conceiving
  • Facial paralysis

The doctor should be contacted immediately if any of the following problems arise:

  • Unable to breathe
  • Heart palpitations
  • Vision loss or changes in eyesight
  • Pain in the eye
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Numbness in the face

 

Treatment

If sarcoidosis is detected in your aging parent, there are some treatment options available to delay the appearance of symptoms, but there is no cure. Many symptoms will go away on their own, but medication may be prescribed to reduce inflammation.

Sarcoidosis can be an uncomfortable disease to live with, but knowing more about it will help you or their senior care aid provide the kind of care they need.

If you or an aging loved one are considering home care in Hazlet, NJ, please contact the caring staff at Lares Home Care 1-800-781-7435 or 732-566-1112.

 

Source:

http://www.aafp.org/afp/2004/0715/p312.html