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Detailed Information on Mixed Connective Tissue Disease

Posted Sep 11 2009 4:57pm

Mixed Connective Tissue Disease is also known as Sharp syndrome. Mixed connective tissue disease is a rheumatic disease that has features shared by lupus, scleroderma, polymyosistis or dermatomyositis and rheumatoid arthritis. It is a disorder of the immune system, which normally functions to defend the body against invading infections and cancers, and toxins. In Mixed Connective Tissue Disorder, as in other autoimmune diseases parts of the complex immune system is over-active and produces increased amounts of abnormal antibodies that attack the patient's own organs.

Mixed Connective Tissue Disease can assume many parts of the body, including the joints, skin, kidneys, lungs, heart, endocrine, digestive, and nervous system, blood vessels which all are made up of connective tissue. Females are affected more frequently than males, and although it can occur at any age. It is estimated to attacks women eight to fifteen times more often than it attacks men. The signs and symptoms of MCTD differ from person to person, with the symptoms of either Lupus, or Scleroderma, or Myositis or other autoimmune disease being most prevalent. The disease can range from mild to life threatening.

The lungs and kidneys are particularly at risk. Lungs and kidneys symptoms are particularly grave involvement. The signs and symptoms of diverse connective tissue disease involve fatigue, muscle weakness, joint pain, joint swelling, swollen fingers and mild fever. Raynaud's syndrome may precede other manifestations by years. Diffuse systemic sclerosis–like skin changes and ischemic necrosis or ulceration of the fingertips may occasionally develop. Renal disease occurs in about 10% and is often soft but occasionally causes morbidity or mortality. Sometimes pulmonary involvement is the most serious complication.

The treatments for Mixed Connective Tissue Disorder are like to those employed for other autoimmune diseases. Corticosteroids are usually useful, especially when the disease is diagnosed early. Anti-inflammatories Steroids, d-penicillimine, and methotrexate are used to diminish inflammation that seems to lead to fibrosis. Prevention is better than cure. Eat a balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables. Get exercise on days you feel up to it. Keeping your body healthy makes you better able to deal with the daily stress of living with a chronic illness.

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