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A to Z: Wegener's Granulomatosis

A to Z: Wegener's Granulomatosis

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A to Z: Wegener's Granulomatosis

May also be called: Granulomatosis with Polyangiitis (GPA)

Wegener’s granulomatosis (VEG-eh-nerz gran-u-loe-muh-TOE-sis) (WG) is an uncommon autoimmune disorder that causes blood vessels to become inflamed.

More to Know

Most often diagnosed in middle-aged adults, Wegener's granulomatosis is rarely seen in children. The cause is unknown.

Some people with WG may develop small nodules, especially around blood vessels, called granulomas. Blood vessel inflammation affects blood flow, so organs can become damaged.

Symptoms usually appear in the respiratory system first (sinuses, throat, and lungs). The condition progresses quickly, though, and can be life threatening if it affects the kidneys. Many people with WG also develop eye problems.

People with WG may have a constant runny nose, ear infections, sinusitis, nosebleeds, and cough. They may also experience joint pain, shortness of breath, skin sores, fatigue, loss of appetite, and fever. Coughing up blood or blood in the urine also can be signs of WG.

Keep in Mind

Wegener's granulomatosis can be effectively treated with a variety of medications, such as steroids and others that suppress the immune system. The disease can recur and treatments can have side effects, however, so patients with WG will be closely monitored by their doctor.

All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical experts.