Four rather unusual and rare diseases are now being grouped together by medical investigators as a result of information derived from recent research. Their names, which are little known to the public, are polyarteritis nodosa, diffuse lupus erythematosus, scleroderma, and dermatomyositis.
They resemble each other in that all of them represent disturbances of connective tissue in the body, in contrast to glandular tissue or surface secreting tissue. The connective tissue of the body includes what is elastic and the material between the cells. Sometimes tumors consist almost wholly of connective or fibrous tissue. The walls of blood vessels contain much tissue of this type.
Now the big fact about these conditions is that all of them are benefited at least temporarily by use of ACTH or Cortisone. All of them resemble also the reactions that occur in tissues in response to hypersensitivity or allergy.
Polyarteritis nodosa is a disease in which the blood vessels are chiefly affected. Because this disease is primarily serious damage of blood vessels, it may be reflected in any part of the body. The condition affects men four times as often as women and, mostly, those between twenty and forty years old. Arthritis and many of the reactions associated with hypersensitivity are seen by the doctor in these patients.
Disseminated lupus erythematosus is chronic, usually severe disorder occurring mostly in females fifteen to forty years old. A characteristic is a butterfly-shaped inflammation over the nose. Other symptoms involve the joints and the heart. Fever a anemia and a progressive course make the disease fatal.
Scleroderma Scleroderma is a disease that affects the connective tissue of the body and particularly that in the skin where there is hardening. Chiefly women between thirty and fifty years old are affected. The swelling in the skin may be followed by calcification. This disease comes on slowly a insidiously, but as it progresses changes occur in the skin of the face, neck, and arms. The skin looks waxy and tight and loses its color a hair. When the face is involved there may be difficulty in moving the jaw. Fortunately this is not a common disease; certainly it is not serious as polyarteritis nodosa or diffuse lupus erythematosusw, which similar. In the older forms of treatment emphasis was placed on the use of thyroid and vitamins. Great care was given to prevent secondary infections. More recently attention is being focused on the use of ACTH and Cortisone.
Fourth in this group of collagen disorders is one called dermatomyositis. This is a common and often fatal disorder involving the skin and the muscles. The exact cause is still unknown. It affects people of all races and colors, both men and women, and in general those between the ages of ten and fifty years.
Characteristic of this condition is the involvement of the muscles. As they deteriorate the organs concerned show effects, as in the eyes, throat, diaphragm, or muscles between the ribs. The symptoms then are difficulties of vision, swallowing, breathing, speech, etc. Naturally such people lose weight and get weak. Unfortunately this condition progressive and few who have it live long. Until recently little was known about treatment, and vitamins, hormones and physical therapy were tried. Salicylates were thought to be beneficial. Now we know that the salicylates can to a small extent stimulate the condition.
Rheumatism is a word used to describe a number of diseases, acute or chronic, which are accompanied by pain and stiffness of the muscles, the joints and other tissues involved in movement. Arthritis is the term used to describe inflammation of the joints only.
The joint includes the ends of bones, cartilages between the ends, a capsule holding it all together, ligaments which attach the muscles to the bones, membranes and the joint fluid. Nerves accompany the blood vessels into the joints; while the bones and cartilage do not feel pain, inflammation and swelling with the pouring of extra fluid into the joint can produce exquisite pain.
People with arthritis can be quite eloquent about their joints. The pain may be described as excruciating, throbbing, burning, aching, squeezing, or just hurting. The patients also complain of crackling, stiffness, and loss of motion.
The American Rheumatism Association has classified arthritis into seven types:
1.- due to infection
2.- due to rheumatic fever
5.- due to injuries
6.- due to gout
7.- arising from the nervous system
Connective tissue disorders - Diseases such as scleroderma that cause muscular tissue to thicken and swell can keep digestive muscles from relaxing and contracting as they should, allowing acid reflux. ....Read More...
Symptoms And Types Of Connective Tissue Disease
Written by David Crawford
Wednesday, 02 December 2009