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Donation inspires focus on Wegener's Granulomatosis

Wegener's Granulomatosis is an autoimmune disease. Autoimmune diseases are a broad range of related diseases in which a person's immune system produces an inappropriate response against its own cells, tissues and/or organs, resulting in inflammation and damage.

There are over 80 different autoimmune diseases and these range from common to very rare diseases. 

Systemic autoimmune diseases can affect many body organs and tissues at the same time. They can be broadly classified into rheumatological/connective tissue disease and vasculitis (inflammation of blood vessels).

Wegener's Granulomatosis is the most common form of vasculitis and affects around 5 in a million people. The inflammation is a rare type that targets the arteries, veins and capillaries of vital organs within the body, most commonly the kidneys and the respiratory system (lungs, trachea, nose and sinuses).

The symptoms of this condition vary, based on which blood vessels in the body are affected, but may include fatigue, unexplained weight loss, recurrent fever, night sweats, breathlessness, persistent cough, chest discomfort, painful muscles and/or joints, chronic runny nose, sinus inflammation, blockage and pain, nasal passage ulcers, traces of blood in nasal mucus, sputum or urine.

Whilst there is no cure for Wegner's Granulomatosis, appropriate treatment is usually successful in controlling the inflammation. However, it is important to note that this condition can be fatal without prompt medical treatment as the inflammation in the blood vessels reduces blood flow and therefore, the body's ability to supply oxygen and nutrients around the body.

Autoimmune diseases affect around 1 in 20 people and are one of the most important health issues in Australia and New Zealand. AIFA is working toward raising money for medical research into these complex conditions.

"Let knowledge grow from more to more" – Alfred Lord Tennyson, In Memoriam

This news article has been inspired by a donation in memory of Lesley Cassels who suffered from Wegener's Granulomatosis and died in early 2014. For information on how to donate see Donate In Memoriam.


Content updated June 2014