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Sjögren’s Syndrome: Reacts to the tissue in glands that produce moisture, such as tear and salivary glands. It is a chronic, inflammatory disease that often progresses to a more complex, systemic disorder that can affect other tissues and organs in the body such as joints, skin, kidneys, lungs, nervous system, and the intestinal tract.1,2
Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE): Affects the skin, joints, blood vessels, and internal organs, especially the kidneys, heart, lungs, and brain.1,2
Systemic Sclerosis (SSc): Progressively affects the skin, blood vessels, lungs, gastrointestinal tract, kidneys, heart, and musculoskeletal tissues.1,2
Polymyositis/Dermatomyositis (PM/DM): Polymyositis causes muscle weakness, usually in the muscles closest to the trunk of your body. Dermatomyositis causes muscle weakness, plus a skin rash. General symptoms of myositis include fatigue after walking or standing, tripping or falling, and trouble swallowing or breathing.1,2
Serological tests reveal that connective tissue diseases (CTDs) are associated with a variety of autoantibodies. Certain CTDs are characterized by specific autoantibodies. Diagnostic tests, in conjunction with a thorough clinical history, can be used to help diagnose CTDs earlier in the course of a patient’s disease.
Adding diagnostic testing to aid in a differential diagnosis has been shown to increase confidence in diagnosis to 90 percent.i,ii Conventionally, a diagnosis of allergic or autoimmune disease relies on the case history and a physical examination. However, adding diagnostic testing to aid in a differential diagnosis has been shown to increase confidence in diagnosis.i,ii Diagnostic testing can also help to improve the patient’s quality of life and productivity, reduce costs associated with absenteeism, and optimize use of medication, in addition to decreasing unscheduled healthcare visits.iii,iv
i. Duran-Tauleria E, Vignati G, Guedan MJ, et al. The utility of specific immunoglobulin E measurements in primary care. Allergy. 2004;59 (Suppl78):35-41.
ii. NiggemannB, Nilsson M, Friedrichs F. Paediatric allergy diagnosis in primary care is improved by in vitro allergen specific IgE testing. Pediatr Allergy Immunol. 2008;19:325-331
iii. Welsh N, et al. The Benefits of Specific Immunoglobulin E Testing in the Primary Care Setting. J Am Pharm Assoc. 2006;46:627.
iv. Szeinbach SL, Williams B, Muntendam P, et al. Identification of allergic disease among users of antihistamines. J Manag Care Pharm. 2004; 10 (3): 234-238
Health-related quality of life (HRQoL), which is crucial for patients with CTDs, is reduced across all CTDs when compared to healthy subjects.3 Disease management and treatment is tailored to the specific CTD and can vary, based on disease, severity, and organ involvement.3
Clinical guidelines have been created for the management of many of these diseases, however, there are currently no consensus guidelines covering all the aspects of diagnosis and treatment of some CTDs, such as mixed connective tissue disease (MCTD) and polymyositis/dermatomyositis (PM/DM).4,5