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Goodpasture Syndrome

Goodpasture syndrome is a rare but serious autoimmune disease that attacks the lungs and kidneys.

The disease occurs when the body's immune system mistakenly produces antibodies against collagen in the lungs and kidneys. Collagen is a protein that helps form connective tissue.

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Goodpasture syndrome initially causes vague symptoms such as fatigue. But it can rapidly involve the lungs and kidneys. It is almost always fatal if it is not quickly diagnosed and treated.

Causes of Goodpasture Syndrome

Researchers do not fully understand why the immune system attacks collagen in the lungs and kidneys. Goodpasture syndrome can run in families. So some researchers believe it may have a genetic component.

Other factors that may increase the risk of Goodpasture syndrome include:

  • Exposure to certain chemicals, such as hydrocarbon solvents and the weed killer paraquat
  • Exposure to metallic dust
  • Use of certain drugs, such as cocaine
  • Tobacco smoking
  • Viral infections

Goodpasture syndrome usually affects young men. It more often occurs among whites, and it most commonly affects people who are:

  • Between ages 20 and 30
  • Older than age 60

Symptoms of Goodpasture Syndrome

The first signs of Goodpasture syndrome may include:

Because Goodpasture syndrome may rapidly involve the lungs, initial symptoms such as shortness of breath can quickly progress to a persistent cough, sometimes with blood.

When Goodpasture syndrome affects the kidneys, symptoms may include:

Although Goodpasture syndrome may cause life-threatening bleeding in the lungs, it usually does not result in long-term lung damage. The most serious consequence of Goodpasture syndrome is kidney failure, which may require either dialysis or a kidney transplant.

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