Mixed connective tissue disease (MCTD) is an autoimmune condition in which the immune system works too well in some ways and not well enough in others. This condition has the signs and symptoms of several disorders, including lupus, scleroderma and polymyositis (chronic inflammation of the muscles), so it is actually an overlap of several conditions.
MCTD can be associated with Raynaud disease and can also cause arthritis, fevers and malaise (unexplainable fatigue). Most children are older adolescents when they are diagnosed with the condition, though it can rarely occur earlier.
Other symptoms of MCTD include:
Pediatric rheumatologists at Riley at IU Health diagnose MCTD using a combination of certain clinical findings and lab studies. These findings and studies help the rheumatologists diagnose symptoms that are more consistent with MCTD than with any other condition it can mimic. Your child's pediatric rheumatologist will perform a:
If your child’s doctor diagnoses him or her with MCTD, it is important that you seek treatment quickly. This may help limit the effects of some of the more serious symptoms related to the condition such as inflammation around the heart and lungs.
While there is not yet a cure for MCTD, a combination of medicines can help effectively manage symptoms. Some children with this condition will only need to take medicine when they have flare-ups or during times when symptoms are present. Other children who have a more serious form of MCTD may need to take medicine all the time.
Your child’s doctor may prescribe one or more of the following medicines to control the symptoms of MCTD:
A child with MCTD needs to be seen by his or her rheumatologist about every three to six months to monitor the disease and reassess the treatment regimen.
Visit the trusted websites below to learn more about MCTD:
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