Relieving The Pain Of Sarcoidosis

By Steve Dechan

Given that April is Sarcoidosis Awareness Month, I wanted to draw attention to the plight of the over 100,000 people in Britain that suffer from this incredibly painful condition.

Sarcoidosis is a condition where growths of swollen tissue gather in bodily organs, including the lungs, eyes, and lymph nodes, although it can affect almost any organ in the body. It usually leads to sore bumps on the skin, that can be highly irritating to those affected.

However, in many of the more serious cases, it can also cause severe bone, muscle, or joint pain. This usually happens when causes inflammation within the bone or joint itself. This frequently results in swelling of body parts, stiffness and general loss of mobility.

For many, sarcoidosis is a temporary condition that only lasts a few years at most. However, for others, symptoms only worsen over time and the sarcoidosis becomes chronic. This in turn leads to many sarcoidosis patients enduring chronic pain.

Unfortunately, there’s not yet any cure for sarcoidosis. Although dust, bacteria and genetics are suspected to contribute to it, the exact cause of sarcoidosis remains unknown. As a result, most of those affected by sarcoidosis can only attempt to manage their condition and reduce its impact on their daily lives.

One of the common forms of treatment used by sarcoidosis sufferers is the anti-inflammatory steroid prednisolone. However, this can actually compound the pain that sarcoidosis patients undergo, given that steroids often result in softening of the bones, also known as osteoporosis, which is in itself a highly painful condition. For that reason, pain management naturally complements existing treatment methods, and painkillers are often taken. That said, even the common painkillers can have harmful side effects if used too frequently, and many people develop a level of resistance to them over time.

Unlike many other diseases, sarcoidosis overwhelmingly impacts young people, with around 70% of patients being between 20 and 40 years old. This means that many of those affected are people in the prime of their lives, and their condition therefore often has an even greater effect on their personal careers and lifestyles.

It is important for us as a society to ensure that young people in our country can lead fulfilling and pain-free lives, no matter the cost. As the easing of the national lockdown continues in Britain, greater access to technology would have massive benefits for sarcoidosis patients, allowing them to pursue their life ambitions without the constraints of chronic pain.