What Are the Symptoms of Wegener's Granulomatosis?


Quick Answer

Wegener's granulomatosis, commonly known as granulomatosis with polyangiitis or GPA, triggers respiratory symptoms, such as sinusitis, runny nose, shortness of breath, nosebleeds, coughing and chest pain, Mayo Clinic states. As the condition worsens, individuals may develop ear infections, fever, eye redness or soreness, bloody urine, skin sores and joint inflammation.

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GPA is a rare autoimmune disorder that interrupts blood flow to essential organs by causing vasculitis, or inflammation of the blood vessels, according to Medical News Today. Over time, granulomas, or nodes of inflamed tissue, also grow around the affected vessels. The condition typically affects the respiratory system and kidneys, but its cause is unknown. People with GPA often experience anemia, a loss of appetite and a persistent malaise, or a general feeling of being unwell. If they develop sores, the skin may have lasting scars.

Depending on the areas of the body where granulomas form, severe or untreated cases can lead to kidney failure, heart attack and deafness, Medical News Today notes. For example, granulomas in the arteries can cut off blood circulation through the heart. A progressive condition known as glomerulonephritis can interrupt kidney function, restricting the organ's ability to remove waste products from the bloodstream. Since GPA triggers irregular immune system activity, treatment usually involves medications that suppress an immune system response. However, this approach also makes patients more vulnerable to disease, so additional medication and monitoring are usually necessary to resist infections.

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