What Is Collagen Vascular Disease?
Collagen Vascular Disease is a name given to a group of diseases that directly affects the connective tissues of your body. But what is collagen? Collagen is a protein-based connective tissue that creates a support system for your skin. These connective tissues hold ligaments, muscles, and bones together. This vascular disease is also known as connective tissue disease.
You can get collagen vascular disease genetically, from your parents or due to the activity of your body’s immune system with itself (autoimmune). In this article, we will discuss mainly about the autoimmune collagen vascular disease.
Types Of Collagen Vascular Disease
Some diseases classified as collagen vascular disease tend to affect your skin, blood vessels, joints, and other vital organs. The signs of this disease vary according to the specific disorder. Some autoimmune collagen vascular disease types include:
Lupus is commonly characterized via a facial rash present on both cheeks. Patients undergoing this disease experience immense pain in their joints, fatigue, shortness in breath and skin lesions.
Scleroderma leads to abnormal collagen growth in the body and affects your joints, skins and other organs. This disease is characterized via swelling present in the fingerprints, spider veins, joint pain, and calcium bumps. When this disease reaches a serious stage, it may lead to heart failure or kidney disease.
Localized scleroderma is mostly associated with the skin and the muscle underneath. Systemic sclerosis involves major organs and the blood vessels of the body.
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid Arthritis led to the lining in the joints and caused your hands and feet to swell up. This disorder is characterized by stiffness, swollen joints, fatigue, and bumps of tissues present on the limb affected.
- Sjogren Syndrome
This syndrome often comes with other autoimmune disorders such as lupus and arthritis. It leads to a dry mouth, dry eyes and can also affect organs such as liver, skin, and kidneys or affect your joints eventually. In this chronic disease, the immune system tends to affect the glands that produce moisture in your body. The effects of this disease can range from slight discomfort to debilitating.
- Temporal Arteritis
This is a disorder in which the temporal arteries that supply oxygen-rich blood to your head and brain get damaged or become inflamed. This disorder is also known as giant cell arteritis or cranial arteritis.
Some hereditary collagen vascular disease types include:
- Marfan’s Syndrome
- Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome
- Osteogenesis Imperfecta (brittle bone disease)
Other forms of collagen vascular disease are:
- Nephrogenic systemic fibrosis
What Is Mixed Collagen Vascular Disease?
This mixed collagen vascular disease is a syndrome that features many different types of disorders that come and go as time passes. These disorders are very tricky and difficult to diagnose since the symptoms do not arrive at the same time or leave together. Some indications of this disorder include numb and cold fingers, swollen fingers, fatigue, and muscle pain.
These collagen vascular diseases are more widespread in women than in men.
What Causes Collagen Vascular Disease?
Collagen vascular disease is an autoimmune disease, and this means that your body’s immune system mistakenly attacks the healthy tissues present in your body by mistake. The reason why your immune system does this is still not clear. However, this attack causes inflammation.
If you have this disorder, then your immune system has caused inflammation in your collagen as well as the joints nearby. Many of these collagen vascular diseases including rheumatoid, scleroderma and lupus and very much in common with a woman instead of men.
Some environmental factors can also trigger this disease; ultraviolet rays from the sun can also cause this disease. Other potential reasons for this collagen vascular disease include fatigue, stress and high levels of antibodies present in the body. However, collagen vascular disease is not contagious and so cannot be passed on from one person to another.
Collagen Vascular Disease Symptoms
When it comes to collagen vascular disease, each type of disease has its own signs and symptoms. However, most forms of this disease have some general symptoms that they all share. People who have vascular collagen disease usually experience the following symptoms:
- Joint pain
- Body aches
- Skin rash
- Muscle weakness
However, there are some specific signs that only belong to the collagen vascular disease you are experiencing. These symptoms are as follow:
- Lupus Symptoms
Lupus disorder has some unique symptoms that help in indicating that the disease is Lupus. However, sometimes people with lupus undergo a long period of remission without any symptoms; the symptoms suddenly flare up during stress or long exposure under the sun. The symptoms include chest pain, stroke, headache, mouth ulcer, shortness in breath, dry eyes and recurrent miscarriages.
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
This disorder tends to affect around 13 million adults and has similar symptoms as lupus. Due to inflammation in the connective tissue of your joints, you can experience stiffness and pain in the joints. You can also have chronic issues of a dry mouth and dry eyes. The lining of your heart and your blood vessels can get inflamed during this form of collagen vascular disease.
- Scleroderma Symptoms
Since this is another autoimmune disease, it can affect your lungs, heart, skin, digestive tract and other body organs. Some symptoms of this disease include the hardening of the skin, open sores, rashes, wheezing, coughing, acid reflux, diarrhea and difficulty in breathing.
This disease is also known as systemic collagen vascular disease, and it makes your skin feel tight like it is being stretched or makes it feel lumpy.
- Temporal Arteritis Symptoms
This form of collagen vascular disease is due to inflammation in the large arteries, especially the arteries present in your head. These symptoms are most common in adults who are over the age of 70; the symptoms include headaches, loss in vision, scalp sensitivity and jaw pain.
Collagen Vascular Disease Treatment
The healing for collagen vascular disease varies according to the condition of the individual. This condition becomes clear after collagen vascular disease diagnosis; however, immunosuppressants, corticosteroids, physical therapy, joint replacement, and lifestyle changes can treat many connective tissue disorders
- Immunosuppressants Medications
These medicines work on the body by decreasing the immune response. The reason behind this decrease is that when your immune response is low, your body will not attack itself as it did before. However, there is one disadvantage to this lowered immunity, and that is, this decrease can increase the chances of your getting sick. Simply protect yourself from common cold and flu and stay away from people who have these viruses.
These corticosteroids help in reducing inflammation in your body. These drugs help in making your immune system reach a moderate level. Corticosteroids may have major disadvantages in some users such as mood changes and weight gain. Some people also experience an increase in the level of sugar in their blood when using these medications.
- Physical Therapy
Undergoing physical therapy or gentle exercise can help in the treatment of collagen vascular disease. Different range of motion exercises can help you to get your body mobility back; these exercises also help in reducing muscle and joint pain in the body.
- Lifestyle Changes
However, these diseases do not get fixed by physical therapy of only a month or taking medications every day; with these exercises, you also have to change your lifestyle. Make sure that you do regular exercise, follow stress reduction tips and techniques, avoid too much UV rays by staying indoors and also stay away from other triggers. This will help in allowing you to cope with symptoms easily.
- Joint Replacement
When you reach a point where your joints are damaged beyond repair such as rheumatoid arthritis, then most experts recommend replacement of joints. These joints can be replaced with a prosthetic joint that works similar to your own.
Long Term Look At Collagen Vascular Disease
When looking at the long term outlook of collagen vascular disease, this disease varies from one person to another, and its cure depends entirely on the specific disease. However, all these forms have one thing in common: all autoimmune collagen vascular disease are chronic conditions. This means that they have no cure at all and you will have to manage them throughout your life.
Your physician will work with you and provide you with a treatment plan that will help in managing your disease and its symptoms. However, today there are many different treatment options present for the patients. These options help in providing immediate relief to patients even from very severe symptoms.