Very Rare Autoimmune Disease has been Occurring in Record Numbers
There have recently been many cases reported in the Southern California area. The hospitals are baffled about this mystery of clusters. Experts believe there may be a link to the ever spreading epidemic of fungal exposure and autoimmune diseases, as new evidence is approaching.
Wegener's Granulomatosis (WG) is an extremely rare form of vasculitis; that is, a disease characterized by inflammation of the walls of the blood vessels. This inflammation can result in damage to vital organs of the body by restricting blood flow to those organs. WG normally begins as a localized granulomatous inflammation of the nasal mucosa (lining) and lung tissue, and usually progresses into generalized necrotizing (gradual degeneration) granulomatous (tumor-like) inflammation of the blood vessels. WG is an autoimmune disease, meaning the body's immune system attacks its own body tissues.
About 90% of patients start with cold, sinus, or allergy-like symptoms that fail to respond to the usual therapeutic measures. Others may begin with arthritic symptoms, skin rashes, or eye, ear, or throat infections. The advent of WG may start slowly and continue over a period of time, or it may have a rapid, severe onset.
Although vasculitic diseases can result in damage to any organ system, WG primarily affects the respiratory tract (sinus, nose, trachea, and lungs) and the kidneys, and may involve the joints, eyes, ears, and skin. Patients who do not have renal (kidney) involvement are described as having Limited Wegener's. This disorder occurs equally in males and females and can occur at any age, but usually in middle age.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
Onset of Wegener's granulomatosis may be gradual or rapid and severe . About 90% of patients have symptoms of a 'cold' or 'sinusitis' that fail to respond to usual therapeutic measure and last considerably longer than the usual upper respiratory tract infection. Other symptoms may include nasal membrane ulcerations and crusting, saddle-nose deformity, inflammation of the ear with hearing problems, inflammation of the eye with sight problems, narrowing of the trachea, cough (with or without blood), shortness of breath, skin rash, fever, loss of appetite, weight loss, joint pain, night sweats, protein and blood in the urine (usually not visible), and fatigue. All patients do NOT experience ALL of these symptoms. Be aware that different patients experience different symptoms and the severity of the disease is different in each. If ANY symptoms persist, consider Wegener's granulomatosis.
Diagnosis is established by clinical and laboratory findings such as the ANCA test (a blood test) and tissue biopsy. Antineutrophil Cytoplasmic Antibody (ANCA) is manufactured by the body's immune system. It is found in the majority of patients who have active Wegener's granulomatosis and can be useful to suggest the disease and the pursuit of other diagnostic tests. Blood and urine laboratory tests, together with x-rays, are crucial in detecting abnormalities relating to Wegener's granulomatosis and localizing areas of the body that are being affected. Early diagnosis is critical for the best treatment outcome.
laboratory tests and x-rays, may detect a relapse at its earliest and most treatable stage in most patients.
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