What is Churg Strauss Syndrome?
Churg-Strauss syndrome, also known as eosinophilic granulomatosis with polyangiitis is an extremely rare condition characterized by blood vessel inflammation. It has the potential to permanently harm small and medium-sized blood vessels and disrupt the blood supply to organs and tissues.
What are the Causes of Churg Strauss Syndrome?
The exact cause of Churg Strauss syndrome is unknown. It is most likely due to an overactive immune system triggered by genes and environmental factors, such as allergens or certain drugs. Advanced age, asthma, and nasal allergies are all risk factors for Churg Strauss syndrome.
What are the Symptoms of Churg Strauss Syndrome?
Signs and symptoms of the Churg-Strauss syndrome include:
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Joint and muscle pain
- Abdominal pain
- Gastrointestinal bleeding
- Fatigue or feeling generally unwell
- Rash or skin sores
- Numbness and tingling of the hands and feet
Diagnosis of Churg Strauss Syndrome
Your doctor will review your medical history and symptoms and based on this a physical examination will be performed. Your doctor may also recommend the following diagnostic tests:
- Blood Tests: They can detect antibodies and increased levels of eosinophils that might suggest a diagnosis of Churg-Strauss syndrome but cannot confirm it.
- Imaging Tests: An X-ray, CT scan, or MRI may be used to look for issues in your lungs and sinuses.
- Biopsy: A small sample of tissue will be taken by your doctor for examination under a microscope. To confirm or rule out the occurrence of vasculitis, tissue from your lungs or another organ, such as skin or muscle, is used.
What are the Treatments for Churg Strauss Syndrome?
Treatments consist of symptomatic management of Churg Strauss syndrome symptoms with medications which include:
- Corticosteroids: The most given medicine for Churg-Strauss syndrome is prednisone, which lowers inflammation. To get your symptoms under control fast, your doctor may recommend a high dose of corticosteroids and then gradually lower the dosage to minimize the risk of side effects.
- Immunosuppressive Drugs: The doctor may prescribe azathioprine, cyclophosphamide, or methotrexate in addition to corticosteroids for severe symptoms.
- Intravenous Immune Globulin (IVIG): This is given as an intravenous (IV) infusion once a month. This option is considered if other treatments are not effective.