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Goodpasture's Syndrome

What is Goodpasture's Syndrome?

Goodpasture's syndrome is a rare disease, autoimmune disease that can affect the lungs and kidneys.

An autoimmune disease is a condition in which the body's own defense system reacts against some part of the body itself. When the immune system is working normally, it creates antibodies to fight off germs. In Goodpasture's syndrome, the immune system makes antibodies that attack the lungs and kidneys. Why this happens is uncertain. A combination of factors has been implicated, among them the presence of an inherited component and exposure to certain chemicals.

Symptoms of Goodpasture's Syndrome

The most common symptoms of Goodpasture's syndrome are:

  • fatigue
  • nausea
  • difficulty breathing
  • extreme or unnatural paleness
  • blood in the urine
  • protein in the urine

Goodpasture's syndrome can also cause people to cough up blood or feel a burning sensation when urinating.

How is Goodpasture's Syndrome Diagnosed?

Doctors will take a blood test and/or a kidney biopsy to diagnose Goodpasture's syndrome.

Can Goodpasture's Syndrome be Treated?

Yes. Goodpasture's syndrome is treated with oral immunosuppressive drugs to keep the immune system from making antibodies. Corticosteroid drugs may be given intravenously to control bleeding in the lungs. A process called plasmapheresis may be helpful and necessary to remove the harmful antibodies from the blood; this is usually done in combination with the immunosuppressive drug treatment.

How Long does Goodpasture's Syndrome Last?

Goodpasture's syndrome may last only a few weeks or as long as 2 years. Bleeding in the lungs can be very serious in some cases. But Goodpasture's syndrome does not usually lead to permanent lung damage. Damage to the kidneys, however, may be long-lasting. If the kidneys fail, dialysis to remove waste products and extra fluid from the blood or kidney transplantation may become necessary.

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