Sarcoidosis Race, Age, and Gender:
When my mom turned 40 years old she was diagnosis with a rare disease known as Sarcoidosis. Around 30 out of 100,000 are diagnosed with it each year.
Sarcoidosis is a auto-immune disease that attacks soft tissue anywhere in your body. It is most commonly found in the lungs but can advance to other organs. The disease causes growths and groups of inflammatory cells all over your body. There will different symptoms depending on which organ is affected. For example my mother has it in her lungs so it is very difficult to breath. She has a hard time walking a couple of feet before she has to stop and try to catch her breath. She has also had many surgeries to have the sarcoid bumps removed from her lungs.
There is no known cause for this disease. There is little information but it has become clear that there is a direct correlation between people with sarcoidosis and their race, age, and gender.
Information regarding Sarcoidosis is few and far between but in 1997 a study was released by the American Journal of Epidemiology that showed most people who had the disease were African American females in their 40s. The study consisted of individuals ranging in age from 20-69. The study was restricted to residents of the surrounding Detroit area and they were also all members of the Health Alliance Plan.
Through the study period 259 people were diagnosed with Sarcoidosis. The chart above outlines the age and race of people diagnosed with Sarcoidosis. It clearly shows that African Americans in general are more likely to have the disease.
The data below shows that African American women and African American women in their 30s are more likely to get Sarcoidosis. “African American females ages 30-39 were at a 20% higher risk of forming the disease then African American Males of the same age”.
The troubling part is there is no known reason as to why this is. My mother and all 4 of her siblings have the disease and they are all Caucasian and were all diagnosed at different ages. This is me says that more case studies must like the one above must be done.
In class we discussed how even though a study is well done the results may be due to chance. After research there have been many studies that confirm the findings above. The studies were also done in a variety of different types of geographical areas. All studies support the conclusion that sarcoidosis is more prevalent in African American females in their 30s.
The chart below outlines all other case studies that were done on this topic. There is a range of geographical areas but the results are always the same.
This begs the question, What causes this disease?
In my next article I will talk about Sarcoidosis, genetics, and finding a cause.