Wegener's Granulomatosis Overview
Wegener's granulomatosis (WG) is a rare disease in which blood vessels become inflamed (a condition called vasculitis) and localized, nodular collections of abnormal inflammatory cells, known as granulomas, are found in affected tissues. Granulomatosis is the term that refers to the presence of granulomas. The inflammation can affect various parts of the body, such as the respiratory tract (nose, sinuses, windpipe, and lungs) and the kidneys. When blood vessels become inflamed, blood flow to the organs is disrupted, which can damage the organs. The condition is named after Friedrich Wegener, who identified the illness in the 1930s.
Wegener's granulomatosis is rare, and its exact frequency is difficult to determine. According to the Wegener's Granulomatosis Association, the condition affects one in every 30,000-50,000 people. The disease can affect anyone at any age. However, it affects white people in their 30s and 40s most often. African Americans account for only 2-3% of those affected by Wegener's granulomatosis.
With proper diagnosis and treatment, the disease can be slowed or stopped.
Sat Sharma, MD, FRCPC, FCCP
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