Connective Tissue Diseases 4.42/5 (12)

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The rheumatic connective tissue disorders include inflammatory (inflammatory) autoimmune conditions that are extensively described on these pages. Typical examples are Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), Mixed connective tissue disease (MCTD), Systemic sclerosis / scleroderma, (Dermato-) myositis and Sjögren's syndrome.

Autoimmune, systemic connective tissue disease

"Butterfly rash" at Systemic Lupus (SLE) Photo: City Doctor Internet

Autoimmune, systemic connective tissue disease (and Vascular diseases) are potentially serious conditions within rheumatism ("Rheuma") and the profession Rheumatology. They are characterized by rheumatic inflammation of connective tissue. The connective tissue is located around the organs, but is also a part of them. The diseases are also referred to as collagenoses or connective tissue inflammation. They may include skin, joints, internal organs and tissues around. The connective tissue is made of the proteins collagen ("Collagenosis") and elastin that bind the different organs of the body together.

The triggering disease causes are still unknown. Women get more frequent systemic connective tissue disease, which may be due to the fact that the X chromosome (women have two, males one) contains over 1000 genes while the human Y chromosome has about 100, and many of the genes on the X chromosome are associated with autoimmune diseases.

Genetic disposition and a more complex immune system among women are just partial explanations. If a systemic connective tissue disease has first started, the immune system will overreact with excessive activity. By mistake, the immune system attacks the body's own proteins and tissues (autoimmunity). The different connective tissue diseases (diagnoses) are differentiated because the immune system triggers different Antibodies and damage different organs.

It is said about rheumatic diseases that "No other group of diseases causes so much suffering for so many over so long time". Fortunately, rheumatology has developed significantly. Newer medications and proper handling save many for serious disease development, pain and disability, but for some with systemic connective tissue disease, the statement is unfortunately still striking.

Vasculitis diseases

Answers to frequently asked questions


Information on the purpose of the drugs and the risk of side effects are important in each treatment. The treatment should suppress the overactive immune system so that kidneys, lungs and other internal organs retain their function. At the same time, the symptoms should be reduced. Cortison (for example prednisolone) is still used in addition to many new medications. Cortisone can be crucical in the first and most active, destructive disease stages. Other medications (for example Plaquenil, Methotrexate, Azathioprine) are added to avoid much cortisone side effects and to keep the disease at bay. Against pain is paracetamol formulations usually the first choice, followed by NSAIDs. more about drugs here.


Rheumatology Department at Oslo University Hospital (OUS), Rikshospitalet researches autoimmune connective tissue disease. For research tasks, patients are included in a disease register: Norwegian Systemic Connective Disease and Vascular Registry (NOSVAR). In recent years, the register has contributed to more than 50 published works in international medical journals. PhD (doctorate) work has been completed for the following diseases: MCTD, Systemic sclerosis, SLE, Myositis, Antisynthetase syndrome, Takayasu arteritis and more new work is under way. The good cooperation between patients, doctors and researchers is crucial to obtaining new knowledge for the benefit of the treatment.

For doctors and other health workers

Hereditary, non-inflammatory connective tissue disease

  • The content is based on own notes from meetings, international congresses, textbooks and input from skilled colleagues through 30's work on rheumatic diseases
  • The purpose is to describe the inflammatory rheumatic connective tissue diseases and related conditions that may be confused with these (differential diagnoses)
  • Information is needed to understand the diseases and the treatment, and making patients able to contribute to the best solutions
  • Knowledge reduces risk failure in follow-up, which is a collaboration between patient, general practitioner and specialist in rheumatology / rheumatology department
  • The pages are closely linked to which describes vascular diseases
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