Churg-Strauss syndrome is a rare disorder that may affect multiple organ systems, especially the lungs. The disorder is characterized by the abnormal clustering of certain white blood cells (hypereosinophilia) in the blood and tissues, inflammation of blood vessels (vasculitis), and the development of inflammatory nodular lesions called granulomas (granulomatosis). Most affected individuals have a history of allergy. In addition, asthma and other associated lung (pulmonary) abnormalities (i.e., pulmonary infiltrates) often precede the development of the generalized (systemic) symptoms and findings seen in Churg-Strauss syndrome by as little as six months or as much as two decades. Asthma, a chronic respiratory disorder, is characterized by inflammation and narrowing of the lungs? airways, causing difficulties breathing (dyspnea), coughing, the production of a high-pitched whistling sound while breathing (wheezing), and/or other symptoms and findings.
Nonspecific findings associated with Churg-Strauss syndrome typically include flu-like symptoms, such as fever, a general feeling of weakness and fatigue (malaise), loss of appetite (anorexia), weight loss, and muscle pain (myalgia). Additional symptoms and findings may vary depending upon the specific organ systems affected. The nerves outside the central nervous system (peripheral nerves), kidneys, or gastrointestinal tract are often involved. Without appropriate treatment, serious organ damage and potentially life-threatening complications may result. Although the exact cause of Churg-Strauss syndrome is unknown, many researchers indicate that abnormal functioning of the immune system plays an important role.