Connective tissue disease affects the body parts that connect structures of the body together. Connective tissue is a structural portion of the body that holds the cells together. It is made up of collagen and elastin. Fat and cartilage are some examples, where the tissue supports, binds together, and protects organs. Collagen and elastin are proteins that get inflamed if connective tissue disease occurs. Other parts of the body also get harmed due to connective tissue disease.
Connective tissue disorders mostly involve the muscles, joints, and the skin. They may also involve the eyes, heart, lungs, kidneys, gastrointestinal tract, and the blood vessels. It is actually a group of medical diseases.
Causes and Symptoms
The cause of connective tissue disorder is not known but it is considered that genetic factors are responsible for increasing the risk of development of this disorder. A combination of genetic as well as environmental factors is likely to develop this disorder. Nonspecific fatigue is thought to be a common symptom of this disease. Other associated symptoms may include joint pain, fever, weakness, stiffness, and muscular pain.
Types of Connective Tissue Diseases
Connective tissue disease is of two types: heritable connective tissue disorder and autoimmune connective tissue disorder. Heritable connective tissue disorder includes Marfan syndrome, Stickler syndrome, psoriatic arthritis, and others. There are different types of autoimmune connective tissue disease, such as rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma, polymyositis, systemic lupus, and erythematosus lupus.
Systemic lupus erythematosus is a classic collagen vascular disease. A collagen vascular disorder is one that affects the collagen and causes inflammation. Autoimmune connective tissue disorder is also termed as systemic autoimmune disease. There may be genetic and environmental causes for autoimmune connective tissue disorders.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a common type of connective tissue disease. It has been found that out of 2.1 million American patients of rheumatoid arthritis, 1.5 million are women. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that can be inherited. (Autoimmune disorder is a disorder in which the body’s own immune system attacks the body.) Rheumatoid arthritis disorder affects more number of women than men.
In rheumatoid arthritis, the membrane around joints gets attacked by immune cells, causing this autoimmune disorder. Though rheumatoid arthritis usually affects joints, it may affect lungs, eyes, and heart in severe cases. Rheumatoid arthritis may lead to the formation of lung nodules. This arthritis disorder can cause painful breathing and inflammation of the lung lining.
© Newsmax. All rights reserved.