Does Undifferentiated Connective Tissue Disease Go Away?

Does Undifferentiated Connective Tissue Disease Go Away?

Yes, it does go away in some people. Most of the patients with undifferentiated connective tissue disease have a good prognosis. The studies done up to now in undifferentiated connective tissue disease patients have shown a very low rate of organ involvement and because of that the prognosis of undifferentiated connective tissue disease is good. 20-40% of undifferentiated connective tissue disease patients evolve into specific type of connective tissue disease such as systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma, Sjogren’s syndrome and other connective tissue disease with time. The risk of evolution is high in the first 3-5 years of disease course. If the disease has been present unchanged for more than five years evolution is unlikely. High antinuclear antibody titers, presence of cytopenias at baseline, and progression of nailfold-capillaroscopy patter during follow-up are factors with increased risk of evolution into a definite connective tissue disease.

A study done on 94 patients with undifferentiated connective tissue disease found that Raynaud’s phenomenon, arthritis, photosensitivity are predictors in the development of specific type of CTD. In this study only 13.8% patients evolved into a specific type of connective tissue disease and out of that 8.5% developed systemic lupus erythematosus, 4.2% developed Sjogren’s syndrome, and 1.1% developed rheumatoid arthritis. All of these patients had a good prognosis even though they evolve into a specific type of CTD.

Patients who develop a specific type of connective tissue disease later, have a very mild disease, they have less adverse effects and have a good prognosis.

About 10-20% of patients with undifferentiated connective tissue disease symptoms and signs will go away spontaneously or go into a remission stage and will never evolve into a definite type of CTD. The remaining will maintain a mild or moderate UCTD with fewer complications.

Survival rate of undifferentiated connective tissue disease patients are similar to those associated with systemic lupus erythematosus and rheumatoid arthritis.

Symptoms Of Undifferentiated Connective Tissue Disease

The common symptoms of undifferentiated connective tissue disease are:

There are no organs such as heart, lung, liver, kidney, brain or nervous system involvement.

80% of undifferentiated connective tissue disease patients have a simple autoantibody profile and the most common antibody found is Anti-Ro/SSA and La/SSB antibodies.
Undifferentiated connective tissue disease (UCTD) is one type of connective tissue disease (CTD). It’s an autoimmune condition, where the body’s immune system attacks normal body cells. When the immune system attacks the connective tissues such as joints, muscles, cartilages and skin, also organs such as lungs, kidneys, heart, eyes, bone marrow, nervous system and blood vessels, it is known as connective tissue disease.

There are certain criteria to diagnose a condition as a specific type of connective tissue disease. If the clinical features do not fulfill the diagnostic criteria of a specific type of connective tissue disease, then it is categorized as undifferentiated connective tissue disease. The terminology came in 1980’s when there were patients with connective tissue disease but did not fit into a particular type and it was believed they were in the early stages of connective tissue disease and was categorized as undifferentiated connective tissue disease type.

Conclusion

Undifferentiated connective tissue disease (UCTD) is one type of connective tissue disease (CTD). There are certain criteria to diagnose a condition as a specific type of connective tissue disease. If the clinical features do not fulfill the diagnostic criteria of a specific type of CTD then it is categorized as undifferentiated connective tissue disease. Yes, undifferentiated connective tissue disease goes away in some people. 20-40% of undifferentiated connective tissue disease patients evolve into specific type of connective tissue disease such as systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma, Sjogren’s syndrome and other connective tissue disease with time. About 10-20% of patients with UCTD symptoms and signs will go away spontaneously or go into a remission stage and will never evolve into a definite type of connective tissue disease. The remaining will maintain a mild or moderate undifferentiated connective tissue disease with fewer complications.

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