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Sharps Disease or known as Broad Tissue Connective Disorder

By Luci Phillips

The above picture is my face and the face of Sharps Disease or #MCTD. This is a rare genetic disorder that results in a silent and deadly disease. This is also an autoimmune disorder. It has so many different autoimmune diseases that are a part of it. The amount of information on this particular disease is small because of the rarity of it. I have been doing extensive research about it. I am going to be writing a lot about it in the coming days. I want people to be aware of this disease. Early detection is important because of making you high risk for blood clots.

#Mixed connective tissue disease (MCTD) has signs and symptoms of a combination of disorders-primarily #lupus, #scleroderma, and #polymyositis. Many people also have #Sjogren's syndrome. MCTD is sometimes known as an overlap disease.

Mixed connective tissue disease, the symptoms of the separate diseases usually don't appear all at once. Intend, they tend to occur over a number of years. This causes complications in being diagnosed.

Early signs and symptoms often involve often involve the hands. Fingers might get puffy, and the fingertips become white and numb, often in response to cold exposure. In later states, some organs-such as the lungs, heart and kidneys-can be affected. There is no cure for mixed connective tissue disease. Treatment depends on how severe the disease is and the organs involved.

Here are some other symptoms:

General feeling of being unwell. This can include increased fatigue and a mild fever.

  • Cold and numb fingers or toes (Raynaud's phenomenon). In response to cold or stress, your fingers or toes might turn white and then purplish blue. After warming, the fingers or toes turn red.

  • Swollen fingers or hands. Some people have swelling of the fingers.

  • Muscle and joint pain. Joints can become inflamed, swollen and deformed, similar to what occurs with rheumatoid arthritis.

  • Rash. Red or reddish brown patches can appear over the knuckles.

Complications Mixed connective tissue disease can lead to serious complications, some of which can be fatal. Complications include:

  • High blood pressure in the lungs (pulmonary hypertension). This condition is a major cause of death in people with mixed connective tissue disease.

  • Interstitial lung disease. This large group of disorders can cause scarring in your lungs, which affects your ability to breathe.

  • Heart disease. Parts of the heart can enlarge, or inflammation can occur around the heart. Heart failure can occur.

  • Kidney damage. About one-fourth of people with mixed connective tissue disease develop kidney problems, Kidney involvement is usually mild, but can lead to kidney failure.

  • Digestive tract damage. Commonly, mixed connective tissue disease affects the digestive tract. You might have abdominal pain and problems with swallowing and digesting food.

  • Anemia. About 75% of people with mixed connective tissue disease have iron deficiency anemia.

  • Tissue death. People with severe Raynaud's disease can develop gangrene in the fingers.

  • Hearing loss. In one small study, hearing loss was reported in almost half the patients with mixed connective tissue disease. More research is needed to understand this association.

  • Nerve damage. Sjogren syndrome can affect the nerve that carries feeling from your face to your brain (trigeminal nerve). If you have trigeminal neuralgia, even mild stimulation of your face — such as from brushing your teeth or putting on makeup — can trigger a jolt of severe pain.

Book: Mayo Clinic Family Health Book, 5th Edition

Mixed connective tissue disease is an autoimmune disorder, although the cause isn't known. In autoimmune disorders, your immune system — responsible for fighting off disease — mistakenly attacks healthy cells.

In connective tissue diseases, your immune system attacks the fibers that provide the framework and support for your body. Some people with mixed connective tissue disease have a family history of the condition. But the role of genetics in the disease remains unclear.

Risk factors

Mixed connective tissue disease can occur in people of any age. However, it appears to be most common in women under the age of 50.

Treatment There's no cure for mixed connective tissue disease. Medication can help manage the signs and symptoms. The type of medication prescribed depends on the severity of your disease and your symptoms. Medications can include:

  • Corticosteroids. Drugs, such as prednisone (Deltasone, Rayos), can help prevent your immune system from attacking healthy cells and suppress inflammation. Side effects of corticosteroids can include mood swings, weight gain, high blood sugar, increased blood pressure, weakened bones and cataracts.

  • Antimalarial drugs. Hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil) can treat mild mixed connective tissue disease and might prevent flare-ups.

  • Calcium channel blockers. This category of medications, including nifedipine (Adalat CC, Procardia) and amlodipine (Norvasc), that help relax the muscles in the walls of your blood vessels might be used to treat Raynaud's phenomenon.

  • Other immunosuppressants. Your doctor might prescribe other medications based on your signs and symptoms. For example, if they're similar to those of lupus, your doctor might recommend medications typically prescribed for people with lupus.

  • Pulmonary hypertension medications. Bosentan (Tracleer) or sildenafil (Revatio, Viagra) might be prescribed.

Other ways to control symptoms of mixed connective tissue disease include:

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. These medications, such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) or naproxen sodium (Aleve), might help relieve the pain and inflammation if your condition is mild.

  • Protecting hands from cold. Wearing gloves and taking other measures to keep your hands warm can help prevent Raynaud's phenomenon.

  • Not smoking. Smoking causes blood vessels to narrow, which can worsen the effects of Raynaud's phenomenon.

  • Reducing stress. Raynaud's phenomenon is often triggered by stress. Relaxation techniques — such as slowing and focusing on your breathing — can help reduce your stress levels.

Most of the information I pulled from the Mayo Clinic. I have also done extensive research online. I was in shock when I read all of this. I have seen that like other anti-inflammatory diseases that diet can help to keep inflammation and flare-ups down. I have been exploring anti-inflammatory protocol diet as well as the Paleo diet. There is a lot of information out there about foods to avoid like nightshade foods. I am waiting until I meet my rheumatologist and dietician before I start cutting things out. I eat healthy and only occasionally eat out at a sit down restaurant. I don't eat junk food or drink soda. I exercise every day. I hope that my healthy lifestyle allows me to flourish in spite of having this disease. I want to inspire other people who are suffering from this and other diseases. These diseases are hidden and to look at us you would think we are healthy. Inside our immune system attacks our own bodies. I was thirty-five when I found out that I had Hashimoto's disease and had to have my thyroid removed. No one told me that by having one autoimmune disease you are three times as likely to get another one. The past few weeks have shocked me to my core. They put me on steroids to try to go into remission. High doses for twelve days. I tried to set up my appointment but it will take months to be seen. If it were just because of the rheumatoid arthritis part that would be fine. The problem is I have the kind that attacks your cardiovascular system. This week there is a lupus awareness day. I have systemic lupus but that is a small portion of my diagnosis. I have to admit that this whole experience has shaken me a bit. It has taken me some time to come to terms with this and my own mortality. If you have been diagnosed with this or someone else in your family has my heart goes out to you. I will post information online as I learn more about it.


great photo under tree_edited.jpg

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