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Connective Tissue Disorders

Medically reviewed by Last updated on May 6, 2024.

What is a connective tissue disorder?

A connective tissue disorder can affect any connective tissue in your body. Connective tissues support your organs, attach muscles to bones, and create scar tissue after an injury. Cartilage is an example of a connective tissue. There are many types of connective tissue disorders, such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and scleroderma. The most common affected areas are joints, muscles, and skin. Your organs, eyes, nervous system, and blood vessels can also be affected.

What increases my risk for a connective tissue disorder?

You might have been born with the disorder, or it may develop from any of the following:

What are the signs and symptoms of a connective tissue disorder?

Signs and symptoms depend on the type of connective tissue disorder and if it is severe. Symptoms may be mild or severe, and may come and go:

How is a connective tissue disorder diagnosed?

You may have symptoms of several types of connective tissue disorders. This can make diagnosis difficult. Over time, you may develop one type of connective tissue disorder.

How is a connective tissue disorder treated?

What can I do to manage my connective tissue disorder?

What can I do to manage flares?

A flare means something triggered your symptoms. Stress, cold weather, and sunlight are examples of triggers. Your healthcare provider can help you create a management plan that includes what to do if you have a flare. Treat flares quickly to help prevent serious illness.

Call 911 for any of the following:

When should I seek immediate care?

When should I contact my healthcare provider?

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.