Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Mixed Connective Tissue Disease


After dealing with joint pain, muscle spasms, migraines, extreme fatigue, malaise, and brain fog, my rheumatologist finally figured out what was wrong with me. I have Mixed Connective Tissue Disease. It takes most people years to get a diagnosis; it certainly has for me. I have been waiting for a diagnosis with some of these symptoms for twenty plus years.

The cause of the disease is not clear and there is no known cure for this progressive disease. Researchers believe that viruses may trigger the misdirected immune response.

Mixed Connective Tissue Disease (MCTD) is an auto-immune disorder with a combination of symptoms from various connective disease such as Lupus, Sjogren's syndrome, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Scleroderma, Raynaud's syndrome and Polymyositis Apparently it can develop into one or more of the other connective tissue diseases later on in the progression of the disease.

Mixed Connective Tissue Disease (MTCD) is an auto immune disease. In other words, the immune system that is responsible for fighting of diseases, mistakes normal healthy cells for intruders and tries to destroy them, in MTCD the immune system mistakenly attacks the fibers of the body that provide the framework and support your body.

*MCTD can affect many parts of the body, including the joints, skin, kidneys, lungs, heart, endocrine, digestive and nervous systems, and blood vessels which all are made up of connective tissue. There are reports of psychiatric disturbances, and the signs and symptoms of MCTD differ from person to person, with the symptoms of either Lupus, or Scleroderma, or Myositis or other autoimmune disease being most prevalent.

The disease can range from mild to life threatening. The lungs and kidneys are particularly at risk. It is estimated to attack women eight to fifteen times more frequently than it attacks men. So, it is primarily a woman's disease, as are most of the 80 (to 120) or so autoimmune diseases. Figures, right?

Sounds scarey, huh? You bet. My emotions run from anger to sadness to wanting to be the first one to beat this thing. 


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