Runny nose, ear infection, nosebleeds, coughing and fever are symptoms of Wegener's granulomatosis, Medical News Today states. Patients may develop sinusitis, sore eyes, inflamed joints, skin sores and symptoms of anemia. Throughout the day, individuals may experience loss of appetite, shortness of breath and a general malaise.
Wegener's granulomatosis, also known as GPA, causes inflammation in the blood vessels, reducing blood flow to essential organs, such as the kidneys and respiratory tract, according to Mayo Clinic. Although doctors aren’t certain about the cause, studies suggest GPA stems from an irregular immune system reaction after the body experiences some form of inflammation. Constricted blood flow inhibits healthy tissue growth in the affected organs, and inflammatory masses known as granulomas form around the blood vessels, causing further tissue damage.
GPA commonly targets organs such as the kidneys, eyes, skin, heart and spinal cord, Mayo Clinic notes. Complications arise when granulomas attack healthy tissue. For example, granulomas in the ear can lead to hearing loss, while cardiac granulomas may lead to heart attack or chest pain. When allowed to progress, the condition often interferes with the kidneys' waste removal system, causing a backup of waste products in the bloodstream. GPA is often difficult to treat because doctors rely on immunosuppressive drugs that leave the immune system vulnerable to toxins that are normally easy to fight off.