Mixed connective tissue disease (MCTD) is a group of disorders that affect the connective tissue of the body. This disease represents clinical symptoms of few connective tissue diseases like scleroderma, lupus and polymyositis. These symptoms get mixed with each other that it is difficult to distinguish these diseases. Thus, mixed connective tissue disorder is also called overlap syndrome. These connective diseases do not appear at once. They develop in sequence one by one in the span of many years. This makes diagnosis more problematic for the physician. It can affect skin, muscles, bones, hands, fingers, heart, lungs and kidneys.
What Is The Treatment For Mixed Connective Tissue Disorder?
Till now, there is no permanent cure known for mixed connective tissue disorder. However, there are many treatment options available to treat the symptoms of this disorder with certain lifestyle changes. These are following-
Immunosuppressants– usually patients with mixed connective tissue disorder require long term treatment with immunosuppressants to control the exaggeration of the immune system in severe cases. These medicines are azathioprine, mycophenolate, etc.
Corticosteroids– corticosteroids such as prednisone play an important role in the regulation of inflammation and overactivity of the immune system. However, it should be given in limited doses to avoid side effects like cataracts, mood swings, etc.
Anti-Inflammatory Medicines– these drugs are preferred to lower down inflammation and joint pain. These drugs are non-steroidal inflammatory diseases such as ibuprofen, naproxen, etc.
Antihypertensive Medicines– there is a risk of development of hypertension in the lungs in patients of mixed connective tissue disorder that may lead to death.
Antihypertensive drugs such as bosentan or sildenafil are prescribed to prevent pulmonary hypertension.
Antimalarial Drugs– antimalarial drugs like hydroxychloroquine, etc. help in the prevention of flare-ups of the disorder usually of mild nature.
Calcium Channel Blockers– medicines like nifedipine and amlodipine are used to clear off Raynaud’s phenomenon.
Lifestyle Changes For Mixed Connective Tissue Disorder
Regular Exercise– physical exercises at a moderate level should be done four to five times a day. This helps remarkably to improve the strength of the muscle, reduce blood pressure and minimize the chances of heart diseases.
Diet Modification– the diet should be rich in fruits, whole grains, and vegetables to recover fast.
Cessation Of Smoking– smoking has lots of bad effects on the body. When a person is suffering from mixed connective tissue disorder does smoking, it increases the symptoms of Raynaud’s phenomenon and narrows down the arteries of the blood vessel. It also increases blood pressure.
Iron Supplements– mixed connective tissue disorder reduces the iron level in the body causing iron deficiency anemia. Iron supplements may help in managing the healthy levels of iron.
Limitation Of Salt Intake– there is a constant risk of development of pulmonary hypertension as a complication of mixed connective tissue disorder. Salt intake should be reduced as it can elevate the blood pressure.
Protection Of The Hands– there is always chances of the flare-up of Raynaud’s phenomenon from cold exposure, so it is better to protect the hands in cold exposure.
Mixed connective tissue disorder is an autoimmune disease that is a cluster of few connective tissue diseases like lupus, scleroderma, and polymyositis. Mixed connective tissue disorder symptoms comprise the characteristic features of these diseases that cannot be distinguished from each other. These connective diseases develop individually over several years. Its exact causes are not known. It cannot be cured completely but its symptoms can be managed. It can be treated with medicines like immunosuppressants, corticosteroids, antihypertensive medicines, antimalarial drugs, and anti-inflammatory drugs. Lifestyle changes like regular exercises, quitting smoking, diet modification and others discussed here plays an important role in the reduction of its symptoms.
Mixed connective tissue disorders cannot be cured and only its symptoms can be managed according to its severity. Medicines like corticosteroids, calcium channel blockers, antihypertensive medicines, antimalarial drugs and lifestyle modification discussed above can help to relieve the symptoms of mixed connective tissue disorder.
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