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Mixed Connective Tissue Disease

Mixed connective tissue disease (MCTD) is a rare autoimmune connective tissue disease. As the name suggests, patients with MCTD have features of two or more connective tissue diseases (lupus, myositis and/or systemic sclerosis).

The diagnosis of MCTD can be difficult because the symptoms of the three diseases usually occur one after another over a long period of time. The diagnosis is based on your symptoms, physical examination findings and blood tests. A specific antibody, called anti-U1RNP, is found at high levels in people with MCTD.

The treatment for MCTD depends on your symptoms, the organs involved and the severity of the disease. The medications used overlap with the three conditions described above. These may include steroids to reduce inflammation and drugs to suppress the immune system. Other medications may also be prescribed to treat or reduce the risk of certain complications affecting internal organs.

Self-care is also important in helping control the symptoms of MCTD. This includes healthy lifestyle changes such as stopping smoking, reducing stress and protecting the hands from the cold.

Useful information for patients:

Useful resources for health professionals: