TRENTON – To help raise awareness about Sarcoidosis, a systemic inflammatory disease that affects the organs, Senator Steve Oroho and Assemblyman Parker Space has sponsored legislation designating April of each year as “Sarcoidosis Awareness Month.” The resolution today received approval from the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee (SJR-42/AJR-57). AJR-57 passed the Assembly in March.
Sarcoidosis and cancer may mimic one another, making the distinction difficult. Its cause is unknown and there is currently no cure.
“The symptoms of the disease have chronic and debilitating effects on many people, including Hall of Fame athletes Bill Russell and Reggie White and comedian Bernie Mac, who passed away as a result of sarcoidosis, said Oroho R-Sussex, Warren, Morris.
“Although some progress has been made in fighting the disease, the cause of sarcoidosis is still unknown,” Oroho added. “Increased research will aid in the efforts to quantify prevalence rates, discover the causes, improve treatments, and find a cure for sarcoidosis.”
The District 24 legislators, including former Assemblywoman Alison Littell McHose, was made aware of the disease from one of their constituents, Nancy Tornillo-Harris, who is in the process of establishing a Sarcoidosis support group in Northwest Jersey.
“Experiencing symptoms of a disease, but not having a firm diagnosis is very frustrating,” stated Space, R-Sussex, Warren and Morris. “That’s why education is one of our best weapons against Sarcoidosis. This designation will hopefully serve as a springboard to a broader awareness of this debilitating disease.”
Sandra Conroy, President and Founder of the National Sarcoidosis Resource Center, said diagnosis is often difficult, which adds to the frustration of those who are experiencing symptoms.
“Sarcoidosis is often mistaken for other diseases, such as multiple sclerosis, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, and tuberculosis,” said Conroy. “There are thousands of people in New Jersey that are living with Sarcoidosis and support from Senator Oroho, Assemblyman Space, and former Assemblywoman McHose means so much.”
Sarcoidosis most commonly affects young adults of both sexes, although studies have reported more cases in females. Common symptoms are vague, such as fatigue unchanged by sleep, lack of energy, weight loss, aches and pains, arthritis, dry eyes, swelling of the knees, blurry vision, shortness of breath, a dry hacking cough or skin lesions.
For more information on the Northwest Jersey Sarcoidosis Support Group, contact Tornillo-Harris at 973-827-5518.