Asthma and Allergies Linked to a Dangerous Syndrome
Churg syndrome occurs when your immune system becomes overactive leading to inflammation of the blood vessels throughout the body including the lungs, nerves, skin, and abdomen. When these vessels swell, it can hamper blood flow to the organs and tissue. If left untreated, severe cases can eventually lead to serious consequences or even death.
No one knows for sure what makes some people prone to developing Churg-Strauss, but having asthma and allergies seems to be a definite link. Some experts believe that taking asthma treatments called leukotriene modifiers can cause Churg-Strauss, but it's also possible that people whose asthma causes them to need this form of treatment may just be at higher risk to develop Churg-Strauss anyway.
Churg-Strauss Syndrome Phases
Churg-Strauss can affect people in different ways, with some experiencing only a mild case, while others have full-blown symptoms and complications. For many people, Churg-Strauss occurs in the following three distinct phases (although the order isn't always the same and not all patients go through every phase):
- The first phase usually involves the development of allergies and asthma, or a worsening of existing symptoms. This phase can last for several years or more.
- The next phase causes an increase in a type of white blood cells called eosinophils. This can affect your lungs and can also cause stomach problems, including pain, bleeding, and weight loss.
- The third stage of the condition causes the blood vessels to narrow and decrease essential blood flow to tissue and organs. This can lead to extreme weakness, exhaustion, and swollen lymph nodes.
Could You Be a Victim?
Remember that your odds of having Churg-Strauss are quite very low and most people who suffer from these types of symptoms will find that they are caused by something else. But if you notice yourself having an array of new symptoms that you can't explain, it's time to see your doctor to get to the root of your problem and rule out the possibility of Churg-Strauss. While no conclusive test exists to diagnose this condition, one telltale sign is usually a biopsy of your tissue that reveals a specific type of inflammation, along with an increase in eosinophils.
How to Treat Churg-Strauss
Although there's no cure for Churg-Strauss, it's important to identify it as early as possible. Your doctor will treat it aggressively with medications aimed to calm your immune system and decrease blood vessel inflammation.
The good news is that when you find Churg Syndrome early and follow proper treatment and monitoring, Churg-Strauss can often be controlled before any serious damage is caused. In some cases, this condition can even go into remission.
Churg Strauss Syndrome Association. "What is Churg Strauss Syndrome?" Web. 4 March 2012.
Mayo Clinic. "Churg-Strauss syndrome." 13 Nov. 2010. Web. 4 March 2012.
Medicinenet.com. "Churg-Strauss Syndrome." Web. 4 March 2012.
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