With treatment and early diagnosis, patients can recover from Wegener's granulomatosis in a few months, according to Mayo Clinic. Maintenance therapy is usually required for up to 2 years after recovery, and patients are monitored to watch for recurrence. Without treatment, the condition can be fatal.
Wegener's granulomatosis causes blood vessel inflammation that blocks blood flow to the kidneys, upper respiratory tract and lungs, Mayo Clinic states. The deprivation of blood flow can damage these organs. The kidneys are typically affected in later stages of the disease. Sometimes the condition is limited to the lungs.
Wegener's granulomatosis symptoms usually begin in the upper respiratory tract, Mayo Clinic reports. They include a persistently runny nose that doesn't respond to medication, nose bleeds, coughing up blood and sinus infection. Additional symptoms include fever, coughing, swollen and painful joints, burning or red eyes, and blood in the urine.
As of 2015, doctors do not know what causes Wegener's granulomatosis but suspect it occurs after the immune system is triggered by a previous case of infection or inflammation, Mayo Clinic reports. The condition is usually diagnosed in white adults between the ages of 40 and 65.
Getting treatment for Wegener's granulomatosis before it damages the kidneys is critical for a full recovery, Mayo Clinic says. If the disease causes kidney damage, the effects can be permanent or even fatal.