Cogan’s disease is an extremely rare, autoimmune disorder that is characterized by chronic / recurrent inflammation. This disorder which affects young adults (between the ages of 20 and 30) is typified by vestibuloauditory dysfunction and interstitial keratitis. The excessive inflammation in the eyes and the ears, which is a hallmark of this disorder, is due to the immune system launching an attack on the delicate tissues that line the inner eyes and the ears.
In 1945, an eminent American Ophthalmologist, D.G. Cogan, described for the very first time the specific symptoms of this serious inflammatory disorder. Besides affecting eyesight and auditory functions, Cogan’s syndrome can also cause major organ damage due to inflammation of the blood vessels. Some common symptoms of Cogan’s syndrome are described in this article.
Symptoms Of Cogan’s Syndrome
Blurring of vision is one of the top symptoms of Cogan’s syndrome. Individuals who suffer from this particular inflammatory disorder may experience progressive loss of vision.
Redness, pain in the eyes and extreme sensitivity to bright light or photophobia are some of the other ocular symptoms of Cogan’s syndrome. Photophobia which is a common symptom of Cogan’s disorder can trigger massive migraine headaches.
Cogan’s syndrome can affect the vestibuloauditory function of the body. Initially a person who is suffering from this rare inflammatory disorder may experience mild to moderate loss of hearing.
Hearing loss which is often bilateral in nature progresses to complete deafness, within two years of the initial onset of this condition. Adopting an aggressive treatment strategy is the best and probably the only way to avoid profound deafness among Cogan’s syndrome patients.
This is a non – specific symptom of Cogan’s disorder. Individuals suffering from this rare disorder may experience sudden weight loss. Cogan’s syndrome patients may also complain of debilitating weakness. People who have started to lose weight all of a sudden should get themselves checked for this dangerous immune disorder.
Individuals suffering from Cogan’s syndrome may complain of vertigo. Vertigo, which is different from dizziness, is basically a feeling that objects in an individual’s immediate environment are moving or spinning uncontrollably.
Dysfunction of the vestibuloauditory system due to inflammation of the delicate tissues which line the inner ear is primarily responsible for vertigo. Blood vessel inflammation, which is common among patients suffering from this rare immune disorder, can also cause vertigo.
Young children are usually diagnosed with Cogan’s syndrome when they experience difficulty in holding their balance. As mentioned earlier Cogan’s syndrome can affect the audio-vestibular function. Even the slightest changes in audio-vestibular function can cause balance issues. The severity of balance problems in an individual suffering from Cogan’s disorder depends on the extent of the disease condition. This lack of co-ordination among patients suffering from Cogan’s syndrome increases their risk of suffering falls.
Photophobia along with severe vertigo can cause individuals suffering form Cogan’s syndrome to experience nausea. Once again the onset of acute nausea among Cogan’s syndrome patients is linked to vestibulo-auditory dysfunction. The bouts of nausea disappear as soon as the patient rests for a few minutes. Very often the feeling of nausea gives way to severe vomiting spells.
Myalgia, anthralgia, fever and chills are some of the other non specific symptoms of Cogan’s syndrome.