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Heritable Connective Tissue Disorders (HCTD/CTDs) vs. AutoImmune Connect Tissue Diseases

To help distinguish heritable connective tissue disorders (HCTDs) from autoimmune connective tissue diseases, we have included a brief summary.

AutoImmune Connective Tissue Disorders: 

Autoimmune connective tissue diseases may have both genetic and environmental causes, and they are often referred to as systemic autoimmune diseases. Genetic factors may create a predisposition towards developing these conditions. They are characterized as a group by the presence of spontaneous over-activity or under-activity of the immune system. In response to a substance the body believes is unwelcome, antibodies are produced; instead of attacking the trigger substance, antibodies attack the body’s tissues. In the event of under-activity, the body is unable to fight against infection. The classic collagen vascular diseases have a classic presentation with common findings that doctors can recognize during an examination and through a blood test. Numerous people have both a heritable connective tissue disorder and an autoimmune connective tissue disease. Autoimmune connective tissue diseases that fall under the classic collagen vascular diseases umbrella include:

  •   Systemic lupus erythematosus
  •   Rheumatoid arthritis 
  •   Scleroderma 
  •   Sjögren’s syndrome 
  •   Mixed connective tissue disease 
  •   Psoriatic arthritis


Page Last Updated: February 2020