Read about Collagen Vascular Disease here. Connective tissue disease happens when there is a problem regarding your connective tissues. Connective tissues are the ones that make the framework of one’s body. When it is damaged, all structures that are related to it will also be destroyed. Collagen is one of those structures that may be destroyed because of this disease. Collagen is a protein fibre that makes our tissues tough and strong.
When these are damaged, our strength will be decreased resulting to weakness and easy fatigability. When a person experiences symptoms of connective tissue disease, they must be checked by a physician to identify which disease it belongs. It may be Dermatomyositis, Psoriatic Arthritis, Scheroderma, Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, Ankylosing Spondylitis, or Polyarteritis Nodosa. However, when the symptoms are unclassifiable, diagnosis may be Undifferentiated Connective Tissue Disease (UCTD) or Undifferentiated Collagen Vascular Disease, Latent Lupus Incomplete Lupus, or Overlap Syndrome.
Undifferentiated Connective Tissue Disease or UCTD is characterized by overlapping or mixed syndromes. Many clinical studies and reports are done to define the criteria for undifferentiated collagen vascular disease. The criteria for this disease are the presence of antinuclear antibodies and duration of three years with the disease. Cases that are three years below are classified as early UCTD.
Patients with undifferentiated collagen vascular disease have various symptoms. It includes Raynaud Phenomenon, arthritis, arthralgia, and mucocutaneous symptoms. The most common symptom is the Reynaud phenomenon. It is a vasospastic disorder that causes discoloration in the toes, fingers, and other areas. It results to vasospasms that decrease the supply of blood in many body regions. This phenomenon is triggered by stress. It is also caused by instigating factors like the disorders in the connective tissue.
An example of this factor is the systemic lupus erythematosus. In extreme cases, gangrene and necrosis can occur. Mucocutaneous symptoms such as malar rash, skin tightening and thickening, oral ulcerations, and photosensitivity may occur. Symptoms like dry eyes, dry mouth, chest pain, pericarditis, arthritis, muscle weakness, swollen hands, seizures, and psychosis are also part of the criteria in distinguishing UCTD.
Examination, laboratory evaluation and complete history are needed to diagnose undifferentiated collagen vascular disease and rule out other diseases. When physicians see that the patient has an autoimmune disease but symptoms doesn’t meet the criteria for collagen vascular disease then they diagnose it as undifferentiated collagen vascular disease.
Various studies for the treatment for undifferentiated connective tissue disease or undifferentiated collagen vascular disease has been done. The therapies that are being done to patients with this disease are from past experiences of the physicians that had been effective. However, the exact treatment is still unknown since it always evolves and is undifferentiated. Medications are given to cater to the symptoms experienced by the patient. This includes analgesics and corticosteroids.
Analgesics and NSAIDs are used for treatment of joint pains and muscle aches. Corticosteroids are given to reduce the inflammation of tissues. For those people who do not respond to these medications, low dose of corticosteroid may be prescribed such as prednisone. Physicians never prescribe high doses of these medicines. They also give immunosuppressant drugs to decrease autoimmunity.