Wegener's granulomatosis is a rare disorder of the blood vessels. It is an inflammation of the blood vessels which affects the blood supply to other organs. Besides the inflammation, granulomas are formed around the blood vessels. Granulomas are a sort of inflamed tissue which damages the healthy tissue.
Since Wegener's granulomatosis can affect different organs, the symptoms of Wegener's can vary. Wegener's granulomatosis can affect kidneys, lungs, skin, gastrointestinal tract, nervous system and brain. The signs and symptoms involve runny nose, bleedings from the nose, pain in the sinuses, infection of the ear, coughing (sometimes coughing up blood), short breath, vision disturbances, pain in the eye, red eyes, pain in the joints, swelling of the joints, sores on the skin, loss of appetite, fever and fatigue.
In order to diagnose Wegener's granulomatosis your doctor will order a special blood test which will reveal the presence of the disorder. To check if Wegener's granulomatosis has affected the kidneys, urine test will also be performed. Additional tests will be done if there is a suspicion that Wegener's granulomatosis affected some other organs. Such tests are X-ray image or CT scan of the lungs, bone marrow aspiration and biopsy of the affected organ. The tissue for biopsy may be taken from the lungs, kidneys, nose or skin.
If Wegener's granulomatosis was diagnosed on time and if you received the proper treatment, you can get better after several months. In addition to your condition must be monitored even after the recovery because the disorder may recur. The treatment usually begins with corticosteroids which are enough for some patients. On the other hand, some patients may need additional medications to strengthen their immune system. In case Wegener's granulomatosis damaged your kidneys, you may need a transplant to regain normal function of the kidneys.Depending on the severity of the symptoms and on the fact which organs are affected, Wegener's granulomatosis can have some serious complications. If the ear was involved, it may cause complete loss of hearing. If you developed skin sores as a consequence of Wegener's granulomatosis, they may leave severe scars. Heart attack is also possible if arteries that are affected. One of the most dangerous complications of Wegener's granulomatosis is kidney failure. It may cause kidneys to retain fluid and waste inside them, and if the waste gets to your bloodstream, it can be a life-threatening disorder. Other complications can includes nose perforation, swelling of the eye and lung failure. Some patients can have side effects from the medications.