What are connective tissue disorders? A common connective disorder is any disorder that affects the connective tissues of the human body. Connective tissue tissues consist of two fibers: elastin and collagen.
When these two connective tissues become damaged or degenerated, they can no longer provide the strength that is needed to hold a joint together, thus leading to pain and other symptoms related to the condition. Commonly known as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, this condition can also affect other parts of the human body.
What are some signs of a connective tissue disorder? Commonly found in adults, most connective disorders involve pain on one side of your body. This is often caused by inflammation of joint tissue due to arthritis. Other symptoms may include stiffness in the arms and legs, numbness or tingling in one joint, and deformity of a bone.
There are various types of connective disorders
Arthritis causes a general stiffness in joints.
Osteoarthritis is common among women and can lead to permanent disability if not treated properly. Rheumatoid arthritis is another type that involves inflammation and thickening of the connective tissues of your body. Some people are more prone to this condition than others, but it usually affects the legs and the hands more.
How are connective disorders diagnosed? The symptoms above and more will be present if you have a connective disorder. Your doctor will first look at your medical history. A physical examination and other tests are necessary to diagnose the condition.
The physical exam includes x-rays and a thorough examination of the joints. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) will be done to take detailed pictures of your joints. Computed tomography can also be done to determine the extent of joint damage. X-rays are often used to see if the disease is localized to a specific area of your body. Your doctor will also use diagnostic imaging techniques such as MRI and CT scans to help determine the cause of your disorder.
The diagnosis can be difficult to make, especially in young patients. If you do not have family members with the same condition, your doctor will need to make a more detailed and personal diagnosis using diagnostic tools. like x-rays and blood tests. Blood tests may be done to measure antibody levels, which can indicate if you have inherited an autoimmune disease such as rheumatoid arthritis.
Once diagnosed, you should undergo treatment for connective tissue disease to avoid further health problems. There are various treatments, including surgery, radiation therapy, and immunotherapy, that can help relieve some of the symptoms. However, it is highly recommended that you consult with your doctor to get the right treatment for your condition.
Treatment will help relieve symptoms and slow the progression of the disease. If your disease is caused by an autoimmune system, you will need anti-inflammatory drugs to keep your body from making enough antibodies. Surgery may also be needed to repair the damage to the joint and remove the affected tissue.
Your anti-inflammatory drugs will target the disease-causing immune system. This drug works by controlling the production of cytokines in the body. These cytokines are created in response to infection. When your body lacks them, it will release inflammatory cytokines to respond to possible infection.
These cytokines attach to your cells, causing damage to the cells and slowing down the immune system. Your body responds by making antibodies to fight these cytokines.
By regulating the production of cytokines, your body stops the immune system from attacking healthy tissue. This helps reduce the inflammation, resulting in more function and healing in the joints.