Cogan's Syndrome

What Is It?

Cogan's syndrome is a rare, rheumatic disease characterized by inflammation of the ears and eyes. Cogan's syndrome can lead to vision difficulty, hearing loss and dizziness. The condition may also be associated with blood-vessel inflammation (called vasculitis) in other areas of the body that can cause major organ damage or, in a small number of cases, even death. It most commonly occurs in a person's 20s or 30s. The cause is not known. However, one theory is that it is an autoimmune disorder in which the body's immune system mistakenly attacks tissue in the eye and ear.

Symptoms

The most common symptoms of Cogan's syndrome include:

  • Red, painful, light-sensitive eyes or blurred vision

  • Hearing loss, which may become profound and permanent

  • Vertigo (a sensation of the room spinning; may be called dizziness)

  • Poor balance

  • Nausea, vomiting

  • Fever, fatigue, weight loss

More rarely, Cogan's syndrome can cause enlarged lymph nodes, rash, chest pain, arm pain and shortness of breath.

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