How Wegener's Granulomatosis Affects the Body

Upper Respiratory Tract
Nearly all people with Wegener's granulomatosis have symptoms that involve the upper respiratory tract. These symptoms may include:
 
  • Sinus pain
  • Discolored or bloody fluid from the nose
  • Nasal ulcers.
     
Another common symptom is almost-constant rhinorrhea (runny nose) or other cold symptoms that do not respond to the usual treatments or that become increasingly worse.
 
Rhinorrhea can result from nasal inflammation or sinus drainage, and can cause pain. A hole may develop in the cartilage of the nose, which can lead to a collapse of the nose (called saddle-nose deformity).
 
The eustachian tubes, which are important for normal ear function, may become blocked, causing chronic ear problems and hearing loss. Bacterial infection can cause Wegener's-related sinusitis (inflammation of the sinuses) with congestion and chronic sinus pain.
 
Lungs
The lungs are also affected in most people with Wegener's granulomatosis, although no symptoms may be present. If symptoms are present, they can include:
 
  • Cough
  • Hemoptysis (coughing up blood)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest discomfort.
 
Kidneys
Kidney involvement, which occurs in more than three-fourths of people with Wegener's granulomatosis, usually does not cause symptoms. If kidney involvement is detected by blood and urine tests, a doctor can start proper treatment, preventing long-term damage to the kidneys.
 
Musculoskeletal System
Pain in the muscles and joints or, occasionally, joint swelling affects two-thirds of people with Wegener's granulomatosis. Although joint pain can be uncomfortable, it does not lead to permanent joint damage or deformities.
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