Chronic Granulomatous Disease

What is Chronic Granulomatous Disease?

Chronic granulomatous disease is a rare disorder that causes some of the body’s white blood cells to function improperly. The disease is inherited due to genetic traits, so naturally it shows up mainly during childhood but occasionally only arises in adulthood.

Due to poorly functioning white blood cells, the patient experiences a repressed immune system that can make otherwise mild bacterial and fungal infections become life-threatening.

What are the Symptoms of Chronic Granulomatous Disease?

Symptoms vary and can be mild and hard to notice at first.

Symptoms include

  • Eczema patches that are red and chronic
  • Abscesses filled with pus developing anywhere on the body
  • Boils and similar skin growths
  • Constant illnesses like bacterial infections and fungal skin infections
  • Pneumonia or other serious infections that return every few years
  • Sores and blisters on the face that are particularly swollen and red
  • Swollen lymph nodes around the base of the neck and head
  • Reoccurring bouts of loose stools

How is Chronic Granulomatous Disease Treated?

Without treatment, this condition can become life-threatening.

Treatment includes

Controlling infectious exposure, treating early cases of infections, and supporting the immune system as much as possible.

Patients must avoid swimming pools, hot tubs, certain gardening activities, and other activities that expose them to pathogens. Any infections are diagnosed promptly and treated with certain classes of antibiotics. Allowing an infection to set in, especially in the lungs, can make it impossible to treat.

Seeing a doctor routinely is the best way to manage chronic granulomatous disease since a bone marrow transplant may become necessary if the disease reaches a severe state.