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Wegeners Granulomatosis

(WG; Granulomatosis with polyangiitis)

Pronounced: VEGG-eh-nerz GRAN-u-luh-mah-TOE-sis

Definition

Wegeners granulomatosis (WG) is a rare disease that causes the walls of blood vessels to become inflamed, a condition called vasculitis. This limits blood flow to tissues and can affect any organ.

Damage to Kidney Due to Decreased Blood Flow

Kidney damage
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Causes    TOP

WG is a type of autoimmune disease. This means the body’s immune system attacks its own tissues. The cause is unknown.

Risk Factors    TOP

WG does not appear to be passed from one generation to the next. It is more common in Caucasians, and in people of middle age.

Symptoms    TOP

Symptoms and their severity vary from one person to another. In most cases, ear, nose, and throat symptoms appear first. These symptoms do not respond to normal treatment and worsen over time.

WG can cause common cold- or flu-like symptoms such as:

  • Fever
  • Achy joints and muscles
  • Headache
  • Overall feeling of discomfort or fatigue
  • Lack of appetite
  • Weight loss

Common respiratory tract symptoms associated with WG may include:

  • Hearing problems
  • Ear pain
  • Mid-facial pain
  • Persistent nasal discharge, with crusts or sores that do not heal
  • Recurrent nosebleeds
  • Discharge from the ear
  • Recurrent ear infection
  • Ulcers in the mouth and nose
  • Wheezing

Areas of Sinus Pain

Sinus Headache: Areas of Pain
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Diagnosis    TOP

You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. The doctor may do tests to rule out other conditions, determine which organs are involved, or to confirm the diagnosis. Tests may include:

  • Blood tests
  • Urine tests
  • Biopsy—removal of a sample of affected tissue

Images may be needed of your bodily structures. This can be done with:

Treatment    TOP

The outlook is good with proper treatment, but without it, WG is fatal. WG is treated with medications. Some are used to induce remission, while others are used for maintenance when remission is achieved.

Medications

Your doctor may recommend 1 or more of the following:

  • Corticosteroids to reduce inflammation and pain
  • Immunosuppressants
  • Medications to prevent infection or bone loss

Prevention    TOP

There are no current guidelines to prevent Wegeners granulomatosis.

RESOURCES:

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIH)
http://www.niaid.nih.gov

CANADIAN RESOURCES:

The Arthritis Society
http://www.arthritis.ca
Public Health Agency of Canada
http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca

References:

Granulomatosis with polyangiitis. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.... Updated June 17, 2016. Accessed September 29, 2016.
Granulomatosis with polyangiitis. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Updated October 29, 2013. Accessed June 13, 2016.
Granulomatosis with polyangiitis (GPA/Wegener's). Vasculitis Foundation website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Accessed June 13, 2016.
Last reviewed June 2016 by Michael J. Fucci, DO, FACC
Last Updated: 5/11/2013

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