Tisha Campbell-Martin reveals she has Sarcoidosis.

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.

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