What You Need to Know About Wegener's Granulomatosis

Eyes
Wegener's granulomatosis can affect the eyes in several ways. People may develop:
 
  • Conjunctivitis (inflammation of the conjunctiva, the inner lining of the eyelid)
  • Scleritis (inflammation of the scleral layer, the white part of the eyeball)
  • Episcleritis (inflammation of the episcleral layer, the outer surface of the sclera)
  • Mass lesion behind the eye globe.
     
Other symptoms in the eye include redness, burning, or pain. Double vision or a decrease in vision are serious symptoms that require immediate medical attention.
 
Skin
Nearly half of people with Wegener's granulomatosis develop skin lesions. These often have the appearance of small, red or purple raised areas or blister-like lesions, ulcers, or nodules that may or may not be painful.
 
Other Symptoms of Wegener's Granulomatosis
Some people with Wegener's granulomatosis experience a narrowing of the trachea. Related symptoms can include:
 
  • Voice change
  • Hoarseness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Cough.
     
The nervous system and heart occasionally may be affected. Fever and night sweats may occur. Fever also may signal an infection, often of the upper respiratory tract.
 

Diagnosing Wegener's Granulomatosis

To treat people with Wegener's granulomatosis most effectively, doctors must diagnose the disease early. There are no blood tests that a doctor can use to diagnose the condition, but blood tests are important to rule out other causes of illness and to determine which organ may be affected. The doctor may also order certain imaging studies and perform a biopsy to help make a diagnosis.
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