What are the symptoms of connective tissue disorders?

The symptoms of connective tissue disorders vary depending on the tissue involved. Not all people with connective tissue disorders have symptoms, and the severity and type of symptoms vary among individuals. If a connective tissue disorder is heritable, you may not show symptoms until middle age, although in some conditions it is possible for symptoms to appear soon after birth.

Connective tissue disorders cause inflammation of the bone, fat, cartilage, tendons, ligaments and skin, which may result in a number of symptoms. The symptoms can vary in intensity among individuals and may occur daily or only occasionally. However, at any time, symptoms may become severe.

Bone and joint symptoms of connective tissue disorders

You may experience connective tissue disorders symptoms daily or only occasionally. At times, any of these bone and joint symptoms can be severe:

  • Joint swelling, redness or pain
  • Loose joints
  • Problems with growth
  • Tight joints

Skin symptoms of connective tissue disorders

You may experience skin symptoms of connective tissue disorders daily or only occasionally. At times, any of these symptoms can be severe:

  • Scarring
  • Skin blisters
  • Skin discoloration such as bruising
  • Skin that is too loose, folds, or stretches excessively

Other symptoms of connective tissue disorders

You may experience other connective tissue disorders symptoms daily or only occasionally. At times, any of these symptoms can be severe:

  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Malaise or lethargy
  • Muscle pain and stiffness
  • Reduced blood circulation in fingers and toes
  • Swelling of hands and fingers

Serious symptoms that might indicate a life-threatening condition

In some cases, connective tissue disorders can be life threatening. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you, or someone you are with, have any of these life-threatening symptoms including:

  • Chest pain or pressure
  • Difficulty breathing
  • High fever (higher than 101 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • Obvious dislocation or deformity of a joint
  • Rapid heart rate (tachycardia)
  • Sweating without exertion
  • Vomiting blood
INTRODUCTION

What is connective tissue disorders?

Connective tissues are groups of fibers and cells that “connect” the framework of the body and literally hold it together. Their functions include cushioning, protecting, supporting, insulating and strengthening the body’s tissues and organs. Examples of connective tissue are tendons, ligaments, cartilage, blood, bone, and the dermis of the skin. Because connective tissue... Read more about connective tissue disordersintroduction

CAUSES

What causes connective tissue disorders?

Connective tissue disorders are caused by multiple factors, including injury, genetics or infection. However, there are some connective tissue disorders for which the cause is not known. The most common connective tissue disorders are caused by injury due to inflammation. Heritable connective tissue disorders are less common and include Marfan’s syndrome and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. Autoimmune disorders of the connective tissue include such diseases as dermatomyositis (a condition characterized by muscle inflammation and skin rash), polymyositis (uncommon condition characterized by widespread muscle inflammation and weakness), rheumatoid arthritis (inflammation of the blood vessels, which can lead to atherosclerosis, stroke, Read more about connective tissue disorderscauses

TREATMENTS

How are connective tissue disorders treated?

Treatment for connective tissue disorders begins with seeking medical care from your health care provider. To determine whether you have connective tissue disorders you will be asked questions about your symptoms and when they occur. You may also be asked to undergo diagnostic testing.... Read more about connective tissue disorderstreatments

Medical Reviewer: All content has been reviewed by board-certified physicians under the direction of Rich Klasco, M.D., FACEP. Last Annual Review Date: May 2, 2011 Copyright: © Copyright 2011 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Bones, Joints and Muscles


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