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Collagen vascular disease

 

In a class of diseases known as autoimmune disorders, the body's immune system attacks its own tissues. Some of these diseases are similar to each other such as arthritis and inflammation of arteries in the tissues. People who developed these disorders were previously said to have "connective tissue" or "collagen vascular" disease. We now have names for many of many specific conditions such as:

  • Ankylosing spondylitis
  • Dermatomyositis
  • Polyarteritis nodosa
  • Psoriatic arthritis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Scleroderma
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus

When a specific disease cannot be diagnosed, more general terms may be used. These include as undifferentiated systemic rheumatic (connective tissue) diseases or overlap syndromes.

 

References

Bennett R. Overlap syndromes. In: Firestein GS, Budd RC, Harris ED Jr, et al, eds. Kelley's Textbook of Rheumatology. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2012:chap 86.

Mosca M, Tani C, Bornbardieri S. Undifferentiated connective tissue diseases (UCTD): a new frontier for rheumatology. Best Pract Res Clin Rheumatol. 2007;21(6):1011-23. PMID: 18068858 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18068858.

 
  • Dermatomyositis, heliotrope eyelids

    Dermatomyositis, heliotrope eyelids - illustration

    This photograph demonstrates the sign "heliotrope eyelids" in which the eyelids develop a brown (violaceous - rather than red) color. Heliotrope eyelids and Gottron's papules on the knuckles are characteristic findings in dermatomyositis.

    Dermatomyositis, heliotrope eyelids

    illustration

  • Polyarteritis, microscopic on the shin

    Polyarteritis, microscopic on the shin - illustration

    This is a picture of microscopic polyarteritis on the shin. The term polyarteritis means that many blood vessels are inflamed. These nodules are located just below the skin's surface (subcutaneous), are barely felt when pressing on the skin (palpable), and are tender. The skin is typically red (erythematous).

    Polyarteritis, microscopic on the shin

    illustration

  • Systemic lupus erythematosus rash on the face

    Systemic lupus erythematosus rash on the face - illustration

    This is a picture of a systemic lupus erythematosis rash on the face. Lupus erythematosis often produces a "butterfly rash" or malar rash. Typically, the rash also appears on the nose.

    Systemic lupus erythematosus rash on the face

    illustration

  • Sclerodactyly

    Sclerodactyly - illustration

    The most classic symptom of scleroderma is a type of skin tightening called sclerodactyly. The initial stages of the disease involves swelling of the fingers. Later, as the connective tissue becomes fibrotic, skin on the fingers and toes becomes hard and shiny. The fingers can become difficult to bend and can form contractures due to the severe tightening of the skin.

    Sclerodactyly

    illustration

  • Rheumatoid arthritis

    Rheumatoid arthritis - illustration

    The affect of rheumatoid arthritis can progress to the degree that it is crippling. Deformities distinctive to late-stage rheumatoid arthritis such as ulnar deviation of the bones of the hands, or swan-neck deviation of the fingers occur because muscles and tendons on one side of the joint may overpower those on the other side, pulling the bones out of alignment.

    Rheumatoid arthritis

    illustration

    • Dermatomyositis, heliotrope eyelids

      Dermatomyositis, heliotrope eyelids - illustration

      This photograph demonstrates the sign "heliotrope eyelids" in which the eyelids develop a brown (violaceous - rather than red) color. Heliotrope eyelids and Gottron's papules on the knuckles are characteristic findings in dermatomyositis.

      Dermatomyositis, heliotrope eyelids

      illustration

    • Polyarteritis, microscopic on the shin

      Polyarteritis, microscopic on the shin - illustration

      This is a picture of microscopic polyarteritis on the shin. The term polyarteritis means that many blood vessels are inflamed. These nodules are located just below the skin's surface (subcutaneous), are barely felt when pressing on the skin (palpable), and are tender. The skin is typically red (erythematous).

      Polyarteritis, microscopic on the shin

      illustration

    • Systemic lupus erythematosus rash on the face

      Systemic lupus erythematosus rash on the face - illustration

      This is a picture of a systemic lupus erythematosis rash on the face. Lupus erythematosis often produces a "butterfly rash" or malar rash. Typically, the rash also appears on the nose.

      Systemic lupus erythematosus rash on the face

      illustration

    • Sclerodactyly

      Sclerodactyly - illustration

      The most classic symptom of scleroderma is a type of skin tightening called sclerodactyly. The initial stages of the disease involves swelling of the fingers. Later, as the connective tissue becomes fibrotic, skin on the fingers and toes becomes hard and shiny. The fingers can become difficult to bend and can form contractures due to the severe tightening of the skin.

      Sclerodactyly

      illustration

    • Rheumatoid arthritis

      Rheumatoid arthritis - illustration

      The affect of rheumatoid arthritis can progress to the degree that it is crippling. Deformities distinctive to late-stage rheumatoid arthritis such as ulnar deviation of the bones of the hands, or swan-neck deviation of the fingers occur because muscles and tendons on one side of the joint may overpower those on the other side, pulling the bones out of alignment.

      Rheumatoid arthritis

      illustration

    A Closer Look

     

    Talking to your MD

     

      Self Care

       

        Tests for Collagen vascular disease

         

         

        Review Date: 1/20/2015

        Reviewed By: Gordon A. Starkebaum, MD, professor of medicine, division of rheumatology, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

        The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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