Autoimmune Rheumatic Diseases

Autoimmune Rheumatic Diseases

Autoimmune Rheumatic Diseases or  Autoimmune Connective tissue disease is a group of conditions caused by malfunction of the immune system (the body’s defense system). This happens when the immune system is unable to tell apart your body’s own cells and foreign cells, causing the immune system to attack the body’s healthy cells.

The usual areas in the body that are affected include the eyes, mouth, mucous membrane, blood vessel, skin, joints, lungs, kidneys, nerve, and heart. An individual with this condition usually reports symptoms of muscle aches and weakness, fever, dry eyes and mouth, skin rash, joint swelling, mucosal ulceration, fatigue, difficulty breathing, long-term cough, acid reflux, altered sensation, and numbness. 
Common autoimmune connective tissue diseases include: 
  • Lupus. (Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE))
  • Sjogren’s disease
  • Polymyositis
  • Dermatomyositis
  • Scleroderma
  • Vasculitis

Diagnosis can be challenging at times as autoimmune connective tissue disease can mimic other medical conditions. Diagnosis is usually made by a Rheumatologist through careful history taking. Physical examination followed by a range of investigations such as blood tests, urine tests, and scans.


Treatment usually includes the use of immunosuppressants, which is a type of treatment to suppress the immune system. Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) and biological agents are typically used in the treatment of autoimmune connective tissue disease.