Mixed connective tissue disease is a rare autoimmune disorder that has the characteristic features of systemic lupus erythematosus, scleroderma, and polymyositis. These symptoms are so mixed with each other that it is difficult to differentiate them. These connective tissue diseases develop over a span of several years in a person who already has connective tissue disease like rheumatoid arthritis or others. It is not clear that what has caused or triggered their development. The over activity of the immune system that mistakenly attacks normal healthy tissues of the body. Its peak incidence is seen in women under the age of 50 years.

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What Is The Major Cause Of Mixed Connective Tissue Disease?

Mixed connective tissue disease is a type of autoimmune disorder. Its cause is not clear. Suppression of the immune system of the body is the major cause for the development of this disorder. The immune system of the body fights against any disease and it sets a defense system against any invader whether it is a bacteria, virus or other microscopic organisms. Autoimmune diseases exaggerate this action of the immune system. The exaggerated or overactive immune system mistakenly considers the healthy tissues or organs as a foreign body or an invader and fights against them. In this action, many healthy cells, tissue or organ are destroyed.

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In mixed connective tissue disease, the overactive immune system attacks the fibers of the skin, muscles, and bones that are responsible to build a framework and support system of the body. Many research studies are currently focused to find out the proteins that that can cause mixed connective tissue disease.

Other Causes Of Mixed Connective Tissue Disease

It is seen that mixed connective tissue disorder tend to run in families and the patient has a family history of the disease. However, there is no strong evidence that can prove the role of genetics in this disorder.

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Risk Factors For Mixed Connective Tissue Disease

Age- it can develop at any age. Its peak incidence is seen under the age of 30 years or in adolescent age.

Sex- it is most commonly seen in women.

Mixed connective tissue disease (MCTD) is a group of disorders that affect the connective tissue of the body. This disease represents clinical symptoms of connective tissue disease. These symptoms get mixed with each other that it is difficult to distinguish these diseases. Thus, mixed connective tissue disease is also called overlap syndrome.

These connective diseases do not appear at once. They occur in sequence one by one in a span of many years. This makes diagnosis more problematic for the physician.

In the early stage, mixed connective tissue disease affects hands and fingers. It leads to the swelling and pain in the fingers. The numbness and whiteness develop in the fingertips especially triggered due to cold exposure and stress. In the later stage, it may extend to the lungs, heart, and kidneys. It can also affect the blood, blood vessels, bones and muscles of the body.

Conclusion

Mixed connective tissue disease is a rare cluster of few connective tissue diseases such as scleroderma, lupus, and polymyositis. These connective tissue diseases do not develop at once. They tend to take several years to appear one by one. The major cause of this disorder is the autoimmune activity of the body in which it attacks the body's healthy tissues by mistake.

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Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: February 8, 2019

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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