Wegener's Disease

Wegener’s granulomatosis is a rare disease which can cause inflammation in a variety of tissues including blood vessels. It primarily affects the upper respiratory tract (sinuses, nose), lungs, and kidneys. Other but less common systems that can be involved include the nervous system, ears, eyes, heart, skin, joints, and muscles. This disease affects men and women fairly equally and can be seen at any age. The most common presenting symptoms include persistent nasal drainage, sinus pain, oral or nasal ulcers, cough that may be associated with bloody phlegm, shortness of breath, and chest discomfort. Other nonspecific symptoms may include fatigue, joint and muscle discomfort, fever, and weight loss. The diagnosis is based on clinical history, exam, labs, imaging, and biopsy of involved area. This disease is treated with drugs that suppress the immune system and often include prednisone and chemotherapy drugs such as cyclophosphamide or methotrexate. This is a serious disease but when treated early and with the proper medications the outcome is generally good.