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Cartersville Medical Center
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Wegeners Granulomatosis

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

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

Risk Factors

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

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

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

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

There are no current guidelines to prevent Wegeners granulomatosis.

Revision Information

  • National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIH)

    http://www.niaid.nih.gov

  • Vasculitis Foundation

    http://www.vasculitisfoundation.org

  • The Arthritis Society

    http://www.arthritis.ca

  • Public Health Agency of Canada

    http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca

  • Granulomatosis with polyangiitis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated December 21, 2015. Accessed June 13, 2016.

  • Granulomatosis with polyangiitis. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases website. Available at: http://www.niaid.nih.gov/topics/gpa/pages/default.aspx. Updated October 29, 2013. Accessed June 13, 2016.

  • Granulomatosis with polyangiitis (GPA/Wegener's). Vasculitis Foundation website. Available at: http://www.vasculitisfoundation.org/education/forms/granulomatosis-with-polyangiitis-gpa-wegeners. Accessed June 13, 2016.

The health information in this Health Library is provided by a third party. Cartersville Medical Center does not in any way create the content of this information. It is provided solely for informational purposes. It does not constitute medical advice and is not intended to be a substitute for proper medical care provided by a physician. Always consult with your doctor for appropriate examinations, treatment, testing, and care recommendations. Do not rely on information on this site as a tool for self-diagnosis. If you have a medical emergency, call 911.