Difference Between Lupus and Sarcoidosis

Many unrelated diseases might show similar symptoms which confuses people. Sometimes, people mistake a simple inflammation for a fatal disease which increases panic and deteriorates one’s health.


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Lupus and Sarcoidosis are two unrelated diseases but swollen gland is a symptom common to them. It is important to know the difference between them to understand the rate of fatality of these diseases. 

Lupus vs Sarcoidosis

The difference between lupus and sarcoidosis is that lupus affects multiple body organs including lungs, kidneys, heart, brain, skin, and blood cells whereas sarcoidosis mostly affects the lungs and the lymph nodes. Lupus is hard to diagnose because its symptoms match other diseases whereas sarcoidosis is characterized by the formation of granulomas (collection of inflammatory cells) in various parts of the body. 

Lupus vs Sarcoidosis

Lupus is an autoimmune disease which means the immune system of the body treats its own organs and cells as foreign entities.

Due to lupus, inflammation takes place in several body parts along with common symptoms like fatigue and fever. One of the most distinctive symptoms of lupus is the formation of facial rash in the shape of a butterfly’s wings.   

Sarcoidosis is commonly observed in lymph nodes and lungs but apart from these body parts is also visible in the skin, heart, and eyes.

The real cause or source behind this disease is still unknown but it can be identified by the formation of granulomas. Most of the time, they are accidentally discovered while a chest x-ray.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonLupusSarcoidosis
Causes Lupus is an autoimmune disease with genetic playing a role in it. The exact cause of sarcoidosis is still unknown.
SymptomsSome common symptoms are butterfly-shaped rash on the face, swelling, joint pain, stiffness, and skin lesions when exposed to sunlight. Swelling of lymph nodes and joints, fatigue, weight loss, chest pain, reddish-purple rash, nodule formation, and irregular heartbeats. 
DiagnosisBlood tests are conducted to diagnose lupus. It is accidentally discovered in chest x-rays but can be confirmed by biopsy. 
FatalityLupus is a fatal autoimmune disease that can cause severe kidney damage. Untreated sarcoidosis can cause pulmonary fibrosis. 
TreatmentSteroid therapy is recommended for preventing renal failure. In most cases, minimal treatment is required but in some cases organ damage takes place. No permanent treatment. 

What is Lupus?

Lupus is a fatal autoimmune disease that is more common in women. Most cases of lupus are diagnosed between the age of 15 and 45. The symptoms of lupus are similar to the symptoms of other ailments which makes it difficult to identify in the first place. 

Though the butterfly-shaped facial rash is distinctive, in some people they don’t tend to appear. Genetics and the environment play a very crucial role in triggering lupus.

People who are born with the tendency to have lupus are very sensitive to sunlight. Exposure to the sun can cause skin lesions. Sometimes specific types of blood pressure medications or antibiotics can also trigger lupus. 

The common symptoms of the disease are fatigue and fever, skin rashes and skin lesions, breathing problem, decoloration of fingers and toes during stress, and memory loss.

Lupus can cause severe damage to many body parts such as renal failure, inflammation of blood vessels, increases risk of heart attack, and strokes or seizures. 

There is no permanent treatment for lupus but some medications may help in controlling the disease. If a person is suffering from drug-induced lupus changing the medications helps in recovery. 

What is Sarcoidosis?

The cause behind the occurring of sarcoidosis is still unknown but some experts believe that it is the reaction of a body to an unknown substance or self-proteins.

The formation of a tiny collection of granulomas (inflammatory cells) in any body part is the distinctive characteristic of sarcoidosis. 

Sarcoidosis can occur to any gender at any age but most of the observed cases are between 20 to 60 years. A person is more likely to get sarcoidosis if someone in the family tree has had it. 

There are several symptoms of sarcoidosis but the most common ones are swollen lymph nodes, swelling and pain of joints, and fatigue.

If granulomas have formed in the lungs, shortness of breath and constant dry cough are common symptoms. Lesions on the nose and cheek, nodule formation under the skin, blurred vision, and irregular heartbeats are also symptoms of sarcoidosis. 

Sarcoidosis is less fatal as compared to lupus but if undiagnosed for several years can cause organ damage. In some cases, the disease recovers on its own.

But, if it does not happen there is a chance of pulmonary fibrosis, cataracts, renal failure, and facial paralysis. 

Main Differences Between Lupus and Sarcoidosis

  1. Lupus is an autoimmune disease whereas scientists and medical experts are still unaware of the real cause behind sarcoidosis. 
  2. The most distinctive characteristic of lupus is the formation of a red-colored rash that appears in the shape of a butterfly’s wings. On the other hand, sarcoidosis can be identified by swelling of lymph nodes and joints. 
  3. Blood tests are carried out to detect lupus whereas sarcoidosis can be detected in chest x-rays followed by its confirmation after biopsy. 
  4. Lupus is a more fatal disease as compared to sarcoidosis. Sarcoidosis tends to go away on its own but causes organ damage in prolonged cases. 
  5. Steroid therapy, changing medications like antibiotics, and direct exposure to sunlight helps in bringing lupus under control. On the other hand, sarcoidosis needs minimal treatment for recovery except when it is undetected for a long time. 
Difference Between Lupus and Sarcoidosis


  1. https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJM198603063141004
  2. https://erj.ersjournals.com/content/18/32_suppl/56s.short
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