Mixed connective tissue disease (MCTD) is an autoimmune disorder that can affect both men and women at any age but most commonly affects women under 50. It is a difficult disease to diagnose because it shares so many symptoms with other autoimmune diseases. The symptoms also vary from person to person. Treatment and outlook for mixed connective tissue disease depend on the signs and symptoms of each patient.
Autoimmune disorders develop when the immune system mistakes healthy tissues in the body for foreign invaders and begins attacking them. Mixed connective tissue disease is an overlap disease, which means it presents the same symptoms as many disorders, hence the difficulty reaching an accurate diagnosis. MCTD can present with the same signs and symptoms as lupus, scleroderma, and polymyositis.
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