Wegener granulomatosis (WG) is a rare disease in which blood vessels become inflamed (a condition called vasculitis) and accumulate in certain areas, a collection of abnormal nodular inflammatory cells, known as granulomas, found in the affected tissue. Wegener’s granulomatosis is also known as granulomatosis with polyangiitis (GPA). Granulomatosis is a term that refers to the presence of granulomas.
Inflammation can affect various parts of the body, such as the respiratory tract and kidneys. When blood vessels become inflamed, blood flow to the body’s organs is disrupted, which can damage the body’s organs. This condition is named after Friedrich Wegener, who identified the disease in the 1930s.
Wegener granulomatosis is rare, and the exact frequency is difficult to determine. This disease can affect anyone at any age. However, this condition more often affects white people in their 30-40s. With proper diagnosis and treatment, this disease can be slowed down or stopped.
Causes of Wegener granulomatosis
Nobody knows the cause of wegener granulomatosis. This is considered an autoimmune disorder in which the body’s defense system attacks itself and destroys normal body tissue. Normally, the immune system acts as a defense against outside attackers. With autoimmune disorders, something triggers our own immune response that causes the body to react to its own tissues. The result is that the network can be damaged. In Wegener’s granulomatosis, the organ systems that are attacked by the immune system include the respiratory tract and kidneys.
Symptoms of Wegener’s Granulomatosis
Symptoms of granulomatosis Wegener can affect the respiratory tract and kidneys. However, Wegener’s granulomatosis symptoms are nonspecific and can resemble other disease conditions.
The most common upper respiratory tract:
- Sinusitis, sinus pain, bacterial infection in the sinus
- Constant runny nose (worse than those caused by the common cold)
- Bloody nose
- Pain around the nostrils
- Created a hole in the cartilage in the nose
- Ear infections, blocked ear canal, and hearing loss
In the lungs there are usually the following conditions:
- Coughing up blood
- Hard to breathe
- Chest pain
- Muscle and joint pain, swelling in the joints
- Redness and burning or pain in the eye (conjunctivitis) and swelling in the eye
- Double vision or decreased vision (requires immediate medical treatment)
- Skin sores that look like small red or purple areas (may not cause pain)
- Fever, night sweats
- Loss of appetite, weight loss
The kidneys are affected in three quarters of people with Wegener’s granulomatosis, but the person may not have clear symptoms associated with kidney damage. Urine can be bloody or red.
Treating Wegener Granulomatosis
Talk to your doctor about these symptoms. Eye problems require immediate medical attention. Other symptoms that can cause someone to contact a doctor are chest pain, coughing up blood, or seeing blood in the urine.