Connective Tissue Disease - Experience

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What is a connective tissue disease?

Connective tissue diseases are actually a group of medical diseases. A connective tissue disease is any disease that has the connective tissues of the body as a primary target of pathology. The connective tissues are the structural portions of our body that essentially hold the cells of the body together. These tissues form a framework, or matrix, for the body. The connective tissues are composed of two major structural protein molecules, collagen and elastin. There are many different types of collagen protein that vary in amount in each of the body's tissues. Elastin has the capability of stretching and returning to its original length -- like a spring or rubber band. Elastin is the major component of ligaments (tissues that attach bone to bone) and skin. In patients with connective tissue diseases, it is common for collagen and elastin to become injured by inflammation.

Many connective tissue diseases feature abnormal immune system activity with inflammation in tissues as a result of an immune system that is directed against one's own body tissues (autoimmunity).

Diseases in which inflammation or weakness of collagen tends to occur are also referred to as collagen diseases. Collagen vascular disease is a somewhat antiquated term used to describe diseases of the connective tissues that typically include diseases that can be (but are not necessarily) associated with blood vessel abnormalities.

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See what others are saying

Comment from: #skindisorderssuck, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: October 31

I have been biopsied and was told at age 20 that I have discoid lupus. I have been on all medications like Dapsone, Plaquenil, prednisone, Cellcept that worked, but it's dangerous to take them for too long. And not to mention not being insurable, it's highly expensive. I'm now 33 and just had two biopsies done on my rash that has never ceased the entire time and has destroyed my looks and life. I'm waiting for results of my ANA (antinuclear antibody) and SED (ESR) levels. I've always tested negative for lupus on blood work. But after an upper respiratory infection I tested positive for Sjogren's. I've had platelets attacks and it almost killed me.

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Comment from: Hope, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: February 24

Twelve years ago I was told I was borderline for lupus by a rheumatologist, and was told I had MCTD (mixed connective tissue disease) by an ND (naturopathic doctor); recent testing indicates the ND was mostly likely right. During flare ups the pain was so intense that I started to cry simply putting face cream on. The pain in my foot was so bad that I couldn"t wear a shoe without excruciating pain - and strong medications didn"t help at all. I was told to go on Plaquenil, but was scared about the possible damage to my eye-sight. Instead I looked into everything else I could possibly do. I ended up adopting a vegan diet for other reasons. Slowly my symptoms disappeared, and I have not had any of these symptoms again. I decided to share my story, in case it helped others. The diet did not change things over night (more along the lines of months), but I truly believe it has helped me to slowly get better, and now stay in remission for so long.

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