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What is Wegener's disease?

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Quick Answer

Wegener's granulomatosis is a vascular disease characterized by inflammation of the blood vessels, which restricts blood flow to the affected organs, according to Mayo Clinic. Wegener's commonly affects the lungs, sinuses and kidneys, and it can be successfully treated, although there is no known cause.

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What is Wegener's disease?
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Full Answer

Symptoms of Wegener's granulomatosis are varied and include hematuria, chest pain, shortness of breath, nosebleeds and a persistent runny nose, explains Mayo Clinic. Respiratory symptoms are often the first ones noticed.

A bloody cough, or hemoptysis, is another common symptom of Wegener's granulomatosis, according to Cleveland Clinic. Voice changes are also possible if the trachea is affected by Wegener's.

The kidneys are usually affected in later stages of the disease, Mayo Clinic reports. When they are affected, it can cause malfunction of the kidneys, allowing waste products to build up in the bloodstream. Untreated Wegener's granulomatosis can lead to kidney failure and death.

A doctor diagnoses Wegener's granulomatosis through a tissue biopsy once the disease is suspected, according to Cleveland Clinic. Laboratory tests and X-rays are also used to help confirm the diagnosis, although these tests alone aren't enough to make the diagnosis.

Treatment for Wegener's granulomatosis includes the use of corticosteroids and methotrexate or immunosuppressive medications such as Rituxan and Cytoxan, explains Cleveland Clinic, especially if critical organs such as the kidneys are involved. The goal is to prevent further injury to the internal organs and reach remission after a few months of treatment.

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