Study shows psychological health important to controlling Wegener’s granulomatosis
In patients with a devastating form of vasculitis who are in remission, stress can be associated with a greater likelihood of the disease flaring, according to a new study by investigators at Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS).
This is the first study to suggest that mental health is a risk factor in patients with vasculitis, a group of autoimmune disorders characterized by the inflammatory destruction of blood vessels. The study, in a form of the disease known as Wegener’s granulomatosis (WG), will be presented on Nov. 8 at the American College of Rheumatology’s annual meeting.
“When this disease flares, people can be really sick. It often affects the lungs, kidneys, sinuses and nerves. It can cause fevers and rashes. People can die from this illness. It is a very robust, active, inflammatory disease when it is active,” said Robert Spiera, M.D., director of the Vasculitis and Scleroderma Program at HSS, who led the study. “When patients are in remission, however, they can do very, very well.”
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What I have to say: I have an especially virulent form of this disease. When I am the most stressed, I seem to have more problems with infections and the side-effects of the medications. This particular study reinforces what the WG community already knows. When we are stressed, we get sicker.