Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, MD, FFARCSI

Lifestyle Changes For Mixed Connective Tissue Disease

A healthy lifestyle goes a long way in managing health when you have mixed connective tissue disease. Symptoms of arthritis can be relieved by exercising regularly. It is beneficial to engage in mild to moderate activity for better functioning of the joints and preventing stiffness of muscles. It increases circulation and also imparts certain amount of flexibility to the limbs. A sedentary lifestyle would further aggravate the problems and lead to further progression of the disease. Since inactivity is related to muscular dystrophy it is advised to move the limbs and joints to maintain flexibility and movement.

Exercise also relieves stress that has been associated with arterial diseases in mixed connective tissue disease. A low amount of stress will enhance circulation in the whole body and prevent vasoconstriction that is related to cold and stress. Raynaud’s phenomena can be triggered by high amount of stress levels in the body leading to numbness and blue white discoloration of the peripheral tissues especially the fingers and toes. Yoga and meditation are stress relievers and also enhance circulation of blood and help in breathing better. Pulmonary congestion and breathing difficulties can be managed with daily practice of yoga. It has been practiced since early ages to enhance overall health and promote overall health of the body.

A diet rich in all nutrients and vitamins should be taken to enhance the immune system. It is necessary to fight off infections in order to arrest the progression of a disease. A diet rich in vitamin D has shown benefits in patients of mixed connective tissue disease as it helps in suppressing inflammation and joint stiffness. It is also necessary for overall health of the bone and increase strength of the muscles. Daily recommendation of vitamin D is 600 international units for adults up till the age of 70 years and 800 IU beyond 70 years of age.

Fish oil is very beneficial in boosting the immunity and suppressing inflammation in joints and muscles. Foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids such as salmon, mackerel, sardines should be consumed on a regular basis. Fresh fruits and vegetables also provide essential nutrients and should be incorporated into the diet on a daily basis. Spinach, broccoli, cabbage and strawberries are rich in antioxidants and help fight free radicals produced in the body. Overall nutrition should be maintained to boost the immunity and prevent infections. Packaged and processed foods should be avoided. Foods and beverages that dehydrate your body such as intake of alcohol and caffeine should be restricted. Smoking should be avoided as it can lead to breathing difficulties and further aggravate pulmonary congestion and other problems in lungs. Alcohol also affects the liver and can lead to further complications associated with mixed connective tissue disease.

Mixed connective tissue disease is characterized by pain and inflammation in multiple joints of the body. It is a rare autoimmune disorder where the body’s defense mechanism attacks its own cells leading to the destruction of their elastin and collagen fibers. It presents with multiple symptoms associated with other connective tissue disease such as those of rheumatoid arthritis, SLE, polymyositis and scleroderma. It can affect an individual in any age group but is found to be more prevalent in women under the age of 30 years old. Antibodies are formed against the RNA and attacked by the body’s own immune system.

The symptoms experienced by the patient include those of other connective tissue disease as well. They are pain in multiple joints, numb and swollen fingers and feet, fatigue, weakness in the upper and lower limbs, rashes on face and neck, difficulty in swallowing and breathing, low grade fever, anemia, decreased white blood cell count and pain in abdomen. Other major organs can also be involved in the later stages such as kidney and heart leading to serious complications. These symptoms can be managed with proper treatment and care, but the disease has no definitive cure.

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Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: February 12, 2019

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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