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What is connective tissue disease?

A connective tissue disease is any one of a number of conditions that affect the connective tissues of the body.

Connective tissues are those that join and support different organs and body parts, and include tendons, ligaments, cartilage, adipose (fat) tissue, and bone. Connective tissues are made up of proteins such as collagen and elastin. In connective tissue disease, these proteins become inflamed, and the connective tissue and adjoining body parts can be harmed.

 

Types of connective tissue disease

Examples of connective tissue disease include:


 

Symptoms of connective tissue disease

Different connective tissue disease can manifest with different symptoms, but some common symptoms include:


 

What are the causes of connective tissue diseases?

The causes of connective tissue disease are not fully understood. Some connective tissue disease seem to run in families. Many are autoimmune disorders, meaning that the immune system attacks healthy cells by mistake.