The first symptoms of Wegener's granulomatosis are often vague and frequently include upper respiratory tract symptoms, joint pains, weakness, and tiredness.
The most common sign of Wegener’s granulomatosis is involvement of the upper respiratory tract, which occurs in nearly all patients. Symptoms include sinus pain, discolored or bloody fluid from the nose, and, nasal ulcers. A common sign of the disease is almost constant rhinorrhea (“runny nose”) or other cold symptoms that do not respond to usual treatment or that become increasingly worse. It is important to note that other more common diseases (such as allergies) can produce constant rhinorrhea and Wegener’s granulomatosis is a rare cause of this sypmptom.
Rhinorrhea in Wegener’s granulomatosis results from nasal inflammation or sinus drainage and can cause pain. A hole may develop in the cartilage of the nose, which may lead to collapse (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 complicate Wegener’s-related sinusitis (inflammation of the sinuses) with congestion and chronic sinus pain.
The lungs are affected in most people with Wegener's granulomatosis, although no symptoms may be present. If symptoms are present, they include cough, hemoptysis (coughing up blood), shortness of breath, and chest discomfort.
Kidney involvement, which occurs in more than three-fourths of people with this disorder, usually does not cause symptoms. If detected by blood and urine tests, a healthcare professional can start proper treatment, preventing long-term damage to the kidneys.
Pain in the muscles and joints or, occasionally, joint swelling affects two-thirds of people with Wegener's granulomatosis. Although joint pain can be very uncomfortable, it does not lead to permanent joint damage or deformities.
Wegener's granulomatosis can affect the eyes in several ways. People may develop
Symptoms in the eye include redness, burning, or pain. Double vision or a decrease in vision are serious symptoms requiring immediate medical attention.
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.
Some people experience narrowing of the trachea. The symptoms can include voice change, hoarseness, shortness of breath, or 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.
back to top
Last Updated April 26, 2011
Last Reviewed January 12, 2011