Mixed connective tissue disease (MCTD) is an autoimmune disease that shows characteristic features of few connective tissue diseases. In this condition, the symptoms of connective tissue disease overlap with each other and don’t have distinctive features. It develops more in women than men. Its incidence is high in adolescent age. Its causes are not known. Its symptoms involve Reynaud’s phenomenon, fatigue, swelling in joints and fingers, deformities in the affected joints, heartburn, difficulty in swallowing, and many more. It also complicates into pulmonary hypertension, anemia, heart failure and others that may lead to death.
Is Mixed Connective Tissue Disease A Disability?
Mixed connective tissue disease causes so much deformity in the affected joints or organs that it becomes very hard for the patient to perform normal activities like lifting arms, climbing stairs, getting out of chair etc. Disability develops in the affected person because of these deformities. Thus, mixed connective tissue disease is a disability.
Anyone with severe mixed connective tissue disease is eligible for disability benefits.
Mixed connective tissue disease is a combination of connective tissue diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosus, and polymyositis. This condition is also called overlap disease. In this condition, the representing symptoms are so jumbled; the doctors cannot diagnose a particular disease.
Mixed connective tissue disease is seen more in women than men. It occurs worldwide and can develop at any age. Its peak incidence occurs in adolescent age in 20s.
Mixed Connective Tissue Disease Symptoms
The symptoms of mixed connective tissue disease do not develop together at once; they develop in sequence gradually over a period of years. These symptoms are
Raynaud syndrome. in this condition, the fingers are pale, tingle, blue or numb in response to cold or stress. When they are warmed, they appeared.
- Increased fatigue and mild fever present all the time
- Rashes (red or brown) appear on the knuckles
- There is swelling of fingers or hands.
- Joints and muscles are swollen and painful.
- There is marked deformity in the joints that prohibit oneself to perform normal activities.
- There is difficulty in swallowing.
- The patient experiences heartburn
- Shortness of breath is also common.
Complications Of Mixed Connective Tissue Disease
Mixed connective tissue disease may complicate into serious illness such as.
- Pulmonary Hypertension. mixed connective tissue disease may result in the increase in the pressure in the lungs that may cause death.
- Interstitial Lung Disease. serious mixed connective tissue disease may cause scarring of the lungs leading to difficulties in breathing.
- Heart Ailments. heart may get inflamed or enlarged due to mixed connective tissue disease. It is found that 20 % of people with mixed connective tissue disease die from heart disease.
- Kidney Problems. mixed connective tissue disease may also damage the kidney and about 25% of people die of kidney problems.
- Digestive Tract Problems. mixed connective tissue disease may interfere with the digestion of the food in GIT leading to abdominal cramps and other problems.
- Loss Of Hearing. it is recorded in many studies that 50% of people with mixed connective tissue disease develop hearing loss.
- Anemia. the common complication of mixed connective tissue disease is anemia. It is seen in 3/4th of the patients.
- Tissue Necrosis. necrosis and gangrene in the fingers may also develop due to severe Raynaud’s phenomenon.
Causes Of Mixed Connective Tissue Disease
Mixed connective tissue disease is caused by unknown reason. It is an autoimmune disease that attacks its own healthy tissue instead of fighting disease. Immune system affects the fibers of muscles thereby affecting the framework and support of the body. Scientific studies are focused on the detection of proteins that trigger mixed connective tissue disease. It develops commonly in women who are above 50 years. The people who have a family history of mixed connective tissue disease are more likely to develop this disease.
Mixed connective tissue disorder is a cluster of characteristic symptoms of few connective tissue diseases. They are so mixed that they cannot be distinguished. This disease causes remarkable disability in the body that makes the affected person unable to work like a normal person. He is eligible for disability benefits.