Disease in focus: Connective Tissue Diseases


Connective Tissue Diseases are common, affecting approximately 500,000 in the United States. There are over 200 disorders that affect the connective tissue. Some of them are genetic such as Marfan syndromeEhlers-Danlos syndrome and osteogenesis imperfecta. 

Connective tissues cushion, protect and support the body’s tissues. Examples of connective tissue are tendons, ligaments, cartilage, blood, bone, and the dermis of the skin. 

Each of the disorders has its own symptoms depending on the tissue involved. "Some connective tissue disorders are the result of a dysfunction in the immune system, in which the immune system mistakenly targets connective tissue cells, resulting in inflammation.

This type of connective tissue disorder is also an autoimmune disorder and includes such diseases as dermatomyositis (a condition characterized by muscle inflammation and skin rash), polymyositis (uncommon condition characterized by widespread muscle inflammation and weakness), rheumatoid arthritis (inflammation of the blood vessels, which can lead to atherosclerosis, stroke, heart attack, and other cardiac conditions), scleroderma, and systemic lupus erythematosus (disorder in which the body attacks its own healthy cells and tissues)." Better Medicine

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