Tisha Campbell-Martin reveals she has Sarcoidosis.

Credit: Nikki Nelson / WENN

Actress Tisha Campbell-Martin tells People magazine that, although she does have the disease sarcoidosis, contrary to tabloid reports, she is not dying from the disease. The My Wife and Kids and Rita Rocks star said in a statement to People:

“Thank you, everyone, for your concern, however, no worry is needed. I was diagnosed with a lung disorder that some people walk around with and don’t even know they have…Through early diagnosis I’m happy to share that I stay healthy with diet and exercise.”

The 42-yr-old actress was diagnosed 10 years ago.

What is Sarcoidosis?

Sarcoidosis is one of those incompletely understood conditions caused by an abnormal immune system response. This abnormal response produces clumps of inflammatory cells which can either heal, or cause scarring. In people with the disease, the inflammation doesn’t go away. Instead, some of the immune system cells cluster to form lumps called granulomas in various organs in your body.

Sarcoidosis affects people of all ages and races. However, it’s more common among African Americans and Northern Europeans. In the United States, the disease affects African Americans somewhat more often and more severely than Whites.

Sarcoidosis can affect any organ in the body. However, it’s more likely to occur in some organs than in others, frequently starting in the lungs, skin, and/or lymph nodes (especially the lymph nodes in the chest).

The disease also often affects the eyes and the liver. Although less common, it can affect the heart and brain, leading to serious complications.

If many granulomas form in an organ, they can affect how the organ works. This can cause signs and symptoms. Signs and symptoms vary depending on which organs are affected. Many people with the disease have no symptoms or mild symptoms.

Lofgren’s syndrome is a classic set of signs and symptoms that is typical in some people who have sarcoidosis. Lofgren’s syndrome may cause fever, enlarged lymph nodes, arthritis (usually in the ankles), and/or erythema nodosum. Erythema nodosum is a rash of red or reddish-purple bumps on your ankles and shins. The rash may be warm and tender to the touch.

Treatment also varies depending on which organs are affected. A doctor may prescribe topical treatments and/or medicines to treat the disease. Not everyone needs treatment.

The outcome of sarcoidosis varies. Many people recover from the disease with few or no long-term problems.

More than half of the people who have sarcoidosis have remission within 3 years of diagnosis. Two-thirds can have remission within 10 years.  Relapse (return of the disease) 1 or more years after remission occurs in less than 5 percent of patients.

Sarcoidosis leads to organ damage in about one-third of the people diagnosed with the disease. Damage may occur over many years and involve more than one organ. Rarely, sarcoidosis can be fatal. Death usually is the result of complications with the lungs, heart, or brain. Comedian Bernie Mac died August 9, 2008 of pneumonia, possibly a complication of sarcoidosis, a condition he had a number of years.

Certain people are at higher risk for poor outcomes from chronic (long-term) sarcoidosis. This includes people who have lung scarring, heart or brain complications.

Research is ongoing for new and better treatments for sarcoidosis.

For more information about Sarcoidosis, click here to go to the Resounding Health Casebook on the topic.

Michele R. Berman, M.D. was Clinical Director of The Pediatric Center, a private practice on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. from 1988-2000, and was named Outstanding Washington Physician by Washingtonian Magazine in 1999. She was a medical internet pioneer having established one of the first medical practice websites in 1997. Dr. Berman also authored a monthly column for Washington Parent Magazine.

6 Comments

  1. Sharon Johnson

    August 17, 2011 at 10:49 pm

    Hi Tisha, My name is Sharon and I have Sarcoidosis. I was diagnose in 1998. When I saw you on My wife and kids I told my God sister that you looked like you had Sarcoidosis and I really knew that Bernie Mack had it. I can look at people eyes and the way they breathe. I also can tell if their weight is from steroid. Toni Braxton was diagnose with Lupus but I believe she was misdiagnosed. I think she has Sarcoid. I wanted to tell you about the steroid. I am advising you to not take it. I believe it makes it a little worse. It took me a while to figure that out but I have been doing great with my lungs but I have it in my eyes and I often get steroid shot in my eyes, which is not as bad as the steroid by mouth. If this message get to you my email is [email protected] I try to tell people I know personally about the steroid with this type of Lung disorder. God knows I wished I could have talk to Bernie Mack.
    I am so glad you are doing okay Tisha. Good Luck with your health and Career.

    • Dr. M

      August 18, 2011 at 1:24 pm

      Thanks for your comment Sharon. We have no direct contact with Ms. Campbell-Martin, but others may find it useful.

    • Brad Lenaris

      April 20, 2012 at 5:57 pm

      My mother passed away christmas eve 1999 from sarcoidosis. I watched her suffer and she could barely breathe. I had discovered that Tisha Campbell was diagnose with the disease after listening to the Tom Joyner morning show roughly about 10 years ago and wanted to contact her about early symtoms. I pray that she would fight this thing and live a healthy and normal life. I am very surprised that people know about sarcoidosis. Many doctors didn’t really know how to treat it when my mom discovered she had it 15 years ago…

      • Dr. M

        April 21, 2012 at 1:24 pm

        You’re right Brad, sarcoidosis is not a well known illness, but with brave people like Tisha Campbell coming forward, we can hopefully raise awareness of this devastating disease. Thanks for writing!

  2. Danielle

    November 18, 2012 at 9:23 pm

    I have the disease and I grow the granulmas in my throat close to my vocal cords my docts is giving me predisone to help and they keep saying it will go in remission its been two yrs since I been diagnosised I’m tired of having surgeries why isn’t there a cure for this

  3. Sharon Johnson

    July 13, 2013 at 8:25 pm

    Hello everyone this is Sharon Johnson again about Sarcoidosis. I been in college for three years to get an associates degree in Health Information Technology. My sarcoid came out of remission and started to affect my ability to see clearly, my joints ache real bad and my breathing is poor. I started out in school doing so well but the last two semesters was a struggle for me. I tried to file for disability and was turned down because the social security office said that my disability was not severe enough to keep me from working and they said I have education skills. UNBELIVEABLE!!!! I have worked for 20 years at General Motors and paid taxes and social security, but now I am sick to the point I can’t work and Social Security tripping. I worked for 15 years at GM with Sarcoidosis and some times I had to go on medical when it got bad but I never wanted to stop working, I tried to live a normal life as much as I could, but now I really don’t feel well. The system is jacked up! I am still fighting for hearings and so on. Do anybody have any suggestion, The prednisone makes me sicker than what I am. People have lost there life to this illness, social security need to check there information. The only reason that I keep going is because of my faith in God and I have big dreams that I am not wiling to let them go yet. Keep your head up everybody, continue to pray and get involve with http://www.stopsarcoidosis.org to get information that will help you understand about it.

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