Sarcoidosis is described as a peculiar inflammatory disorder affecting the lungs and it occurs mostly between 20-40 years. It can affect many organs in the body since it is caused due to deposits of plaque like substance in the nervous system. Neuro-sarcoidosis is the term given to sarcoidosis that affects the nervous system. Often it affects the facial nerves and cranial nerves like pituitary gland and the hypothalamus.
People who have sarcoidosis have increased risk for developing neurosarcoidosis. Initial symptom of this disease is the Bell’s palsy causing weakness of optical (pertaining to eye) and auditory (ear) nerves. It can develop suddenly and also a slow process. Swelling of nerves can occur in any part of the body like brain or spinal cord or any other part of the nerves. The effects of this disease can be managed by taking corticosteroid drugs.
Neurosarcoidosis is a chronic (long term) disorder affecting many organs and system of the body. It can affect particular area of nerves or the spinal cord as a whole. This disease develops due to the deposit of dead cells in the nerves thus disrupting its normal function.
Muscle weakness in your face is the first symptom of neurosarcoidosis. The nerves of the face muscles can get affected causing intense pain or numbness in these areas. It can cause reduced vision, trouble in hearing and loss of smell and taste if the auditory and optical nerves gets affected. In case if the nervous system of the pituitary gland gets affected it can cause symptoms like excess of thirst, extreme tiredness, changes in menstrual cycle (for women) and increased urine output.
For some people it can cause symptoms like confusion, loss of memory, delirium, dizziness, blurred vision, headache, loss of taste or smell, seizures and stroke. If the peripheral nerves get affected due to this disorder, it can cause loss of sensation or abnormal sensation and reduced movement in particular part of the body.
Your doctor will complete physical exam after listening to your symptoms. He may then gather complete medical information and order for series of tests like blood profile, imaging tests like X-ray, CT or MRI scan of the brain. He may also perform lumbar puncture to collect cerebrospinal fluid inside and testing it in the lab. In case of inflammation of nerves the results would show increased levels of angiotensin converting enzyme.
- No clear treatment is available for neurosarcoidosis. The intensity of symptoms can be managed by effective drugs and therapies.
- Drugs that contain corticosteroid are prescribed for controlling swelling of nerves.
- Immunosuppressant drugs are also given for managing the symptoms.
- For people who have muscle weakness in particular part like hands or legs, physiotherapy is given for muscle relaxation.
- TNF alpha inhibitors are given to reduce inflammation of arthritis is effective in treating neurosarcoidosis.
The outlook of this disease varies from one person to another. Age, health condition and intensity of nerves affected determine the prognosis. For some people the symptoms can be managed with effective doses of medications but for others the disease may progress repeatedly. For severe cases, it can cause permanent disability and even death. With progressive damage done to the brain nerves, there would be increased complications that can be serious.
You cannot totally prevent getting neurosarcoidosis. But if you are diagnosed with sarcoidosis, you need to get intense treatment for the disease so that it does not affect your nerves anymore.