March 25, 2011

Lupus and Overlap Diseases

The connective tissue diseases are a family of closely related disorders. They include: rheumatoid arthritis (RA), systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE or lupus), polymyositis-dermatomyositis (PM-DM), systemic sclerosis (SSc or scleroderma), Sjogren's syndrome (SS) and various forms of vasculitis.

These diseases have a number of common features:
  • They affect women much more frequently than men.
  • They are "multisystem" diseases, capable of affecting the function of many organs.
  • They "overlap" with one another, sharing certain clinical symptoms, signs, and laboratory abnormalities.
  • Blood vessels are the most common target of injury in all of these diseases.
  • The immune system is abnormal and accounts, at least in part, for the observed tissue damage.
Although lupus most often occurs alone, many people with lupus also have symptoms characteristic of one or more of the other connective tissue diseases. In this circumstance, a physician may use the term "overlap" to describe the illness. There are several well-recognized overlaps that may affect people with lupus.

Learn more with the resources below:
Lupus and overlap diseases
Lupus and Sjögren's syndrome
From Lupus Now magazine: Practical Tips for Living with Sjögren’s and Raynaud’s


Anonymous said...

Would this be the same as Undifferentiated Connective Tissue Disease?

Sophie - LFA said...

Hi Anonymous:

According to Drs. Jess D. Edison and William Gilliland, "undifferentiated connective tissue disorder” (UCTD) is a term used to describe a constellation of symptoms, examination findings, and lab test results that fail to meet the established criteria for a specific CTD, but clearly suggest the presence of an underlying systemic autoimmune disease. These conditions may eventually evolve into a clearly defined CTD, or may remain undifferentiated.

I hope this helps. If you have any more questions, please contact our health educator at 1-800-558-0121.


Anonymous said...

I was diagonsed back in September 2003 with Lupus and Fibromalgia. Since then Ive had many flare ups.The pain has become intolerable at times, and recently realized am loosing muscle mass, almost like the tissue is deterating under the skin. Do you know what causes the flare ups?? Why do they happen?? Why does the tissue become deterated over time, and what causes it to happen??? AHope'

Patrice said...

After 3 days of rectal bleeding--a tissue biopsy showed ischemic colitis--still trying to find the exact cause. Is this something common with SLE , Sjorgrens & vasculitis---or something entirely on its own??
Thank You

Sophie - LFA said...

Hi Patrice, please contact your doctor or our health educator (whose number is listed above) for medical questions pertaining to lupus.


Anonymous said...

Hi Sophie;

I was just wondering if there is any overlap between Lupus and Diabetes? I was diagnose 6 years ago with Lupus after years of suffering misdiagnoses, but on my last 2 yearly exams my blood sugar is all wonky and my Dr is talking about putting me on metformin. Could there be a connection between the two?


Sophie - LFA said...

Hi Anonymous,

According to Dr. Robert Lahita, "Long-term prednisone use can cause diabetes in someone who has a tendency to be diabetic. Moreover, the higher the dose of prednisone, the greater the likelihood that the blood glucose (sugar) level will rise. Obesity and a genetic background that includes diabetes also give a person a greater chance of developing diabetes."

For more information, please contact our health educators using the number listed above.

Janis said...

I have had SLE for over 45 years. I knew something was wrong when I was 18 but it took 10 years to get a diagnosis. Back in the 60's it wasn't even a buzz word in the medical field. The medical literature said in the 1960's you would live approximately 5 years once you were diagnosed. Once I knew what was wrong I was able to get the knowledge needed, find the proper medical team and try and live my life to the best of my ability.
My road has had its difficulties, and steroids although a lifesaver at times has caused more troubles as I have gotten older. But, my life is full and rich in spite of having Lupus. Be happy, enjoy each day, Embrace your loved ones and smile , smile, smile
With what I know now and have experienced as a result of steroids, I would try and avoid them as much as possible unless it is a life threatening emergency. I am available to share my ups and downs with anyone who is interested.