What is Goodpasture’s Syndrome?
Goodpasture’s Syndrome is an autoimmune disease that affects your lungs and kidneys and this disease is quite uncommon and risky. Normally your immune system protects the body from infection; but when you are suffering from this disease; your immune system attacks healthy parts of the body invariably.
The fastest damage probabilities are at the lungs and kidneys, and the consequences can also be fatal. The prime treatment is done with immunosuppressant drugs like cyclophosphamide and corticosteroids, which effectively remove the antibodies from the blood. Ernest Goodpasture of Vanderbilt University first described this disease in 1919 and thus the disease gets its name.
Your bodies have immune system and this system produces antibodies which are nothing other than proteins and they help to fight infections. However, when you are infected with Goodpasture’s Syndrome your body starts making antibodies that attack and damage your body. They mainly target the lining of your lungs and kidney and there is no particular reason why your antibodies begin to attack your own lungs and kidneys.
However there are some factors that are believed to trigger the disease. When you are exposed to viral lung infections, or you smoke or you are breathing in vapors from organic solvents, you stand a chance of being affected by the disease.
Caucasian people (mostly men) between ages 20 and 30 or above 60 suffer from this disease. If you have suffered from lupus erythematosus or Wegener’s granulomatosis then your chance of contracting Goodpasture’s Syndrome is considerably more.
Symptoms of Goodpasture’s Syndrome
Some of the common symptoms of Goodpasture’s Syndrome are:
- loss of appetite
- bleeding lungs
- coughing up blood
- inflamed kidneys (glomerulonephritis)
Effects of Goodpasture’s Syndrome
Goodpasture’s Syndrome can cause bleeding in the lungs, though it’s not fatal but the next stage can be kidney failure that may need dialysis or a kidney transplant. If your kidney is severely affected due to Goodpasture’s syndrome then you might:
- feel tired and appear pale (anemia)
- have blood in your urine
- suffer from back pain below your ribs
- urinate frequently, especially at night
- have burning or difficulty when urinating
- have swollen hands and feet
- experience high blood pressure
- have nausea and vomiting
Diagnosis and Treatment
The main diagnosis is a specific blood test that shows if you have harmful antibodies attacking your lungs and kidneys. A blood test and urine test ensures if you have kidney disease.
- The urine test checks for the proteins, blood and other things to indicate kidney damage.
- A blood test for the creatinine serum is used to calculate the glomerular filtration rate (GFR), which gauges the success rate of the kidney function.
- Your doctor may recommend a kidney biopsy to see if the kidney tissue is damaged by the antibody.
- A lung biopsy with a chest X-ray may check for damage in the lungs.
Make sure to take the prescribed medications regularly and strengthen your immune system that will also slow down the growth of harmful antibodies. The medication will also control fluid buildup and high blood pressure. Sometimes doctors also recommended a special blood filtering process called plasmapheresis that aids in removing the harmful antibodies to treat this condition