Pathophysiology: Wegener's granulomatosis is a systemic disease of unknown origin, although recent studies suggest that auto-immune mechanisms and infection play a role in the pathogenesis of this disease. Wegener is characterized by a necrotizing vasculitis involving the lungs (pulmonary infiltrates), the upper airways and the kidneys (rapidly progressive glomerulonephritis). Wegener granulomatosis is a rare disease of unknown aetiology.
Diagnosis: Whenever possible, it is important to confirm the diagnosis of Wegener’s by biopsying an involved organ and finding the pathologic features of this disease under the microscope. Because many diseases may mimic Wegener’s (and vice versa), before starting a treatment regimen it is essential to be as certain of the diagnosis as possible.
Medications such as prednisone help suppress the immune system and treat the early signs and symptoms of Wegener's granulomatosis.
Most people require another immunosuppressive drug, such as cyclophosphamide, azathioprine or methotrexate, to counteract the body's immune reaction.
Statistics: The occupational histories of 16 cases with clearly established diagnosis of Wegener granulomatosis with renal involvement were compared with those of 32 age- and sex-matched controls. It was observed that inhalation of silicon-containing compounds such as silica and grain dust gave a nearly sevenfold risk for Wegener granulomatosis. Further epidemiological and experimental work needs to be performed in order to corroborate these findings.