Another Internet Myth about Melungeons and Native Americans that needs to be addressed is that Melungeons are all afflicted by Sarcoidosis. This is simply not true.
What is sarcoidosis?
Sarcoidosis is an inflammatory disease that can appear in almost any body organ, but most often starts in the lungs or lymph nodes. The disease also can affect the liver, skin, heart, nervous system and kidneys. No one yet knows what causes sarcoidosis. It can appear suddenly and then disappear. Or it can develop gradually and produce symptoms that come and go, sometimes for a lifetime.
As sarcoidosis progresses, small lumps–granulomas–appear in affected tissues. While these granulomas frequently clear up, with or without treatment, sometimes they do not heal. In these cases, the tissues tend to remain inflamed and become scarred (fibrotic).
What are the symptoms of sarcoidosis?
Generally, shortness of breath and a cough that will not go away are among the first symptoms of sarcoidosis. The disease also can show up suddenly with the appearance of skin rashes. Red bumps on the face, arms or shins and inflammation of the eyes also are common symptoms. It is not unusual, however, for sarcoidosis symptoms to be more general: weight loss, fatigue, night sweats, fever or an overall feeling of ill health.
Patients can have symptoms related to the specific organ affected, they can have only general symptoms or they can be without any symptoms whatsoever. Symptoms can vary according to how long the illness has been under way, where the granulomas are forming, how much tissue has become affected and whether the granulomatous process is still active.
Who gets sarcoidosis?
Once considered a rare disease, sarcoidosis is now known to be a common chronic illness that appears all over the world. Indeed, it is the most common of the fibrotic lung disorders.
Anyone can get sarcoidosis. It occurs in all races and in both sexes, but mainly in people between 20 and 40 years of age. The risk is greater if you are a young African-American adult (especially a woman) or of Scandinavian, German, Irish or Puerto Rican origin. White women are just as likely as white men to get sarcoidosis but, among African Americans, females get sarcoidosis two times as often as males.
This article is not intended to provide medical advice or diagnosis. Consult a medical health professional if you think you might be suffering from a medical condition.
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