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Sarcoidosis

Sarcoidosis And The Effects Of Sunlight

09/29/2008

Question:

I have sarcoidosis and my question is this summer I notice that my rash on my feet and legs would flare up when I expose them to sun light? Is there any kind of medication that can take them away? I have them everywhere. I also would like to know why my feet and ankles swell up all the time.

Thank you.

Answer:

Approximately 1 in 10 cases of sarcoidosis involves the skin. The presentation of the rash can vary from one person to the next. In some cases, the sarcoidosis patient may benefit from local therapies, such as corticosteroid-containing skin creams. In other cases the sarcoidosis is found to be active in other areas, such as the lungs. In such cases, it is often best to treat with medications that are affective for all of the affected areas. The decision to treat with local treatments or more generalized treatments should be discussed with your doctors.

With respect to your question about sun exposure, there are some reported (published) cases of sarcoidosis of the skin worsening after sun exposure, and sun exposure is thought to contribute to the production of excess vitamin D which can lead to elevated calcium levels in the blood. Elevated calcium levels can result in severe dehydration, confusion, kidney stones and changes in kidney function. Thus, it is wise for sarcoidosis patients to avoid prolonged or excessive exposure to the sun, especially if they have a history of elevated blood or urine calcium levels. On the other hand, it is unlikely that limited sun exposure will cause any harm.

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Response by:

Elliott D Crouser, MD Elliott D Crouser, MD
Associate Professor of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care & Sleep Medicine
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University