Undifferentiated Connective Tissue Disease – Undifferentiated Connective Tissue Disease (UCTD) is an autoimmune disease that can affect several systems in the body. Connective tissue disease (CTD) is classified as Undifferentiated Connective Tissue Disease when signs and symptoms are consistent with a CTD, but do not fulfill the diagnostic or classification criteria for one of the previously defined CTD.
What is Undifferentiated Connective Tissue Disease?
To learn more, let’s briefly discuss what Mixed Connective Tissue Disease (MCTD) means. Mixed Connective Tissue Disease is a rare autoimmune disorder that often shows overlapping symptoms from three different connective tissue disease. These diseases include: Lupus Disease, Polymyositis and Scleroderma.
The underlying cause of Undifferentiated Connective Tissue Disease is unknown. However, it is a type of autoimmune disease, which means that the immune system malfunctions and mistakenly attacks a person’s own healthy tissues. The diagnosis is based on ruling out other conditions that can cause the same symptoms, aided by blood and urine tests, and imaging studies such as X-ray, CT scan, or ultrasound.
Symptoms of Undifferentiated Connective Tissue Disease
There are several symptoms of Undifferentiated Connective Tissue Disease that can occur and people diagnosed can get any range of them.
- Raynaud’s Disease – Raynaud’s Disease is a rare disorder that causes narrowing of the blood vessels in the fingers and toes when cold or feeling stressed.
- Dryness of the eye and mouth
- Arthritis and/or joint paint
Undifferentiated Connective Tissue Disease Treatment
Before establishing a Undifferentiated Connective Tissue Disease treatment it is best to work with a Functional Practitioner to establish a diagnosis. In addition, they may require blood tests such as the ANA anti-nuclear anti-body test. Additional vitamin testing can provide insight to your doctor.
Treatment for the symptoms of Undifferentiated Connective Tissue Disease (UCTD) can temporary involve the use nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, antimalarial drugs, and/or corticosteroids. In people with severe signs and symptoms, drugs that suppress the immune system may be a helpful tool temporarily.
A variety of other types of medications may be used on an individual basis. This could include: calcium channel blockers for symptoms of Raynaud’s Disease. People with Raynaud’s should also avoid exposure to very cold temperatures. Those with increased sensitivity to sunlight should try to minimize being exposed to sunlight for long periods of time. Wearing protective clothing and sunblock also helps protect against the effects of ultraviolet light.
Autoimmune Connective Tissue Diseases
There are 5 autoimmune connective tissue diseases. Each autoimmune disease is classified based on a combination of symptoms, physical findings and antibody testing.
5 Autoimmune Connective Tissue Diseases:
An overlap syndrome is diagnosed if someone meets the criteria for more than one of these autoimmune connective tissue diseases. Mixed Connective Tissue Disease (MCTD) is a specific overlap syndrome with features of systemic lupus erythematosus, scleroderma, and inflammatory myopathy with antibodies to RNP.