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It’s National Sarcoidosis Awareness Month: What Is Sarcoidosis?


Elderly Care in Sebastopol CA: It’s National Sarcoidosis Awareness Month: What Is Sarcoidosis?

Sarcoidosis is a disease in which granulomas, or tiny patches of inflammatory cells, grow in the body. They usually develop on the skin, eyes, lymph nodes, and lungs. The granulomas can affect the way organs operate. Experts estimate that sarcoidosis affects 20 in 100,000 Americans, and is more prevalent in African Americans than in people of Caucasian descent. Doctors believe that it is caused by the body’s immune system reacting to the presence of an unknown substance. Sometimes sarcoidosis goes away on its own or requires only moderate treatment, but other times it is more serious and can damage organs. If you are responsible for a senior citizen with sarcoidosis, being informed about the condition can help you and any people providing elderly care to manage the disease.


Causes and Symptoms of Sarcoidosis

Doctors don’t know what causes sarcoidosis. Some believe it is an autoimmune disease, but they do not know what triggers the abnormal immune system response. Doctors are also uncertain what makes the disease spread from one part of the body to another.


The symptoms of sarcoidosis will depend on the area of the body that is being affected. Some people never have symptoms, so the disease is found only because they are being treated for something else. General symptoms of sarcoidosis include tiredness, weight loss, fever, and swollen lymph nodes. A person whose lungs are affected may experience respiratory symptoms like wheezing, a dry cough, shortness of breath, and chest pain. When the heart is affected, symptoms include abnormal heartbeat, chest pain, shortness of breath, fainting, edema, and fatigue. Eye symptoms are blurred vision, redness, light sensitivity, and pain. Skin symptoms include reddish-purplish bumps on the ankles or shins, lesions on the face or ears, dark or light patches on the skin, and nodules under the skin.


Managing Sarcoidosis

Sometimes sarcoidosis disappears without needing much medical intervention, but in more severe cases, medication is required. Depending on what area of the body is being affected and what they symptoms are, doctors may prescribe corticosteroids, medication for suppressing the immune response, hydroxychloroquine for skin symptoms, or TNF-alpha inhibitors for treating inflammation. When sarcoidosis has significantly damaged an organ, the doctor may recommend an organ transplant. In cases where treatment is not necessary, patients should still be monitored for any changes in the condition.


If you have a senior loved one with sarcoidosis, hiring someone through an agency to provide elderly care can help your loved one navigate life with sarcoidosis. An elderly care provider can remind your loved one to take their medications and may be able to drive them to doctor appointments. The elderly care provider can also watch for new symptoms and report any changes in existing symptoms.


If you or an aging loved one are considering elderly care in Sebastopol, CA, call At Your Service Home Care.  Call today! Sonoma County: (707) 238-5700 or Marin County: (415) 942-8955




Lucy Andrews DNP, RN, MS

In 1988, after working as a clinical nurse in the University Health System at UC San Francisco, Lucy Andrews started understanding home care.

She became a discharge planner and immediately fell in love with the concept of home care and the autonomous clinical practice it affords nurses. Dr. Lucy was hooked and has been a strong supporter of home care ever since.Believing people need advocates in healthcare systems, she has championed that cause across the acute care and post-acute care setting.

Dr. Lucy has worked in every aspect of home care from Medicare Certified, DME, Infusion, Hospice and finally Private Duty/Private Pay services. She also works as a home care consultant across the country and as a legal nurse consultant for the home care industry.

Having worked in all areas of home care, Dr. Lucy has a well-rounded perspective of the challenges facing patients, families and the home care industry, and as a provider she advocates for patients through the maze of health care services. Dr. Lucy celebrated over 37 years as a nurse and patient advocate.

Dr. Lucy has a Baccalaureate Degree in Nursing from Lewis University, Romeoville, Illinois.In 1994, she received her Masters of Science in Health Service Administration from St. Mary's University, Moraga, California. Dr. Lucy received her Doctor of Nursing Practice awarded in 2016, graduating with Distinction and a 4.0 GPA.

She did her doctoral work on the global dementia crisis, aging and prevention strategies for healthy living. Developed dementia and Alzheimer's disease plans for aging patients leaving the hospital setting or entering long-term care or home health and hospice environments. She also developed a specialized program for those at risk for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

In 1992, Dr. Lucy was designated CAHSAH Certified Home Care Administrator in the inaugural offering of this designation through the California Association for Health Services at Home (CAHSAH).

She is the founder and CEO of Creative Solutions Home Care Consulting Services and At Your Service Nursing & Home Care, a concierge nursing & home care agency that provides the services she believes are essential for seniors to age in place.She offers a higher level of care allowing people to be in their own homes with an emphasis on independence, safety, and quality of life.

Dr. Lucy is the Vice Chair of the Board of Directors for the National Association for Home Care and Hospice (NAHC) and sits on the Board of Directors for California Association for Health Services at Home (CAHSAH).

She has served on the boards for both state and national board associations, and is currently on the following boards and committees: Board of Directors, California State Association for Health Services at Home (CAHSAH), 2002-present, National Association for Home Care and Hospice (NAHC's) Private Duty Home Care Association Director, and multiple state and national home care committees.

Dr. Lucy goes to Washington, DC, several times a year to advocate for senior services and home care issues. She was past Commissioner for the Sonoma Commission on Human Rights.She is past chair of the local Senior Advocacy Services.