Collagen Deficiency - Diseases, Symptoms, Causes

Collagen Deficiency

Collagen deficiency can bring about collagen vascular diseases, which is a group of disease that affect connective tissue. Collagen is a protein connective tissue that helps hold up your skin, bones, muscles and ligaments together. Connective tissue diseases is the other name that is given to collagen vascular disease. Collagen deficiency and the resultant disease is sometime inherited from parents, or brought about by autoimmune issues. The symptoms that are exhibited in collagen deficiency will depend on the underlying resultant disease.

The types of autoimmune diseases that can cause collagen deficiency are

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  • Lupus
  • Scleroderma
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Temporal arteritis

Collagen conditions brought about through inheritance are:

  • Marfan’s syndrome
  • Ehlers-Danlos syndrome
  • Osteogenesis imperfecta (OI), or brittle bone disease

Causes of collagen deficiency

We shall look at collagen deficiencies brought about by autoimmune diseases. These diseases encourage the immune system to attack the body, and the cause has never been known as of today. The attacks cause inflammation to the tissue, and this is what brings about collagen deficiency in the body.

Women are more susceptible to diseases brought about by collagen deficiency. The condition usually happens in adults who are older than 30 years. Children younger than 15 have been found to have lupus but is mostly common in teens above 15.

Symptoms of collagen deficiency and associated diseases

Each type of collagen vascular disease exhibits its own set of symptoms. There are some general symptoms that will occur in all of them, and here are some of them:

  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Muscle weakness
  • skin rash
  • Body aches
  • pain in the joints

There are other symptoms which are specific to particular diseases that affect collagen in the body, and these are:

Symptoms of lupus

The symptoms that indicate the collagen deficiency is brought about by lupus are:

  • Mouth Ulcers
  • Dry eyes
  • Difficulties in breathing
  • Pain in the chest
  • Severe headaches
  • Stroke
  • Recurrent miscarriages

People suffering from lupus can stay for a long time without getting symptoms, but they may come back during periods of stress and high exposure to sunlight.

Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis

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In the United States alone, statistics show that about 1.3 million adults suffer from rheumatoid arthritis. This is a disease characterized:

  • Inflammation of the connective tissue between bone joints and this brings about pain due to the resultant stiffness.
  • The patients may also have a dry mouth and dry eyes.
  • This collagen vascular disease is dangerous since it can also cause the inflammation of the lining of the heart.

Symptoms of scleroderma

Scleroderma is a connective tissue condition that basically affects the following organs

  • The skin – The skin becomes thick and hardens; there is also a lot of open sores and rashes. The skin will feel tight and stretched, and may have lumps in some areas.
  • The heart – You may have numbness in your feet due to poor blood circulation
  • The digestive tract – This causes a lot of acid reflux and diarrhea
  • The lungs – This causes breathing difficulties resulting in a lot of coughing and wheezing

Symptoms of temporal arteritis

This is also known as the giant cell arteritis, and is also caused by collagen deficiency. This is characterized by the inflammation of the large arteries especially those in the head. The symptoms will only occur in adults over the age of 70.

  • Sensitivity of the scalp
  • Pain in the jaw
  • Headaches
  • Loss of vision

Treatment for collagen vascular disease

The treatment for collagen deficiency will depend on the underlying disease. Most times, immunosuppressants and corticosteroids have been found to be effective in the management of these conditions.

Corticosteroids

This is a class of drugs that help in reducing inflammation in the body; they also help in the normalization of the immune system. There are major side effects associated with corticosteroids, including weight gain and mood swings. There may also be an increase in the blood sugar levels of some patients.

Immunosuppressants

Immunosuppressants are a class of medications that lower the immune response of the body; these are given to people who suffer from collagen vascular disease caused by autoimmune conditions; if the body has a lowered immune system, then it will not attack itself. On the downside, taking these medications will also increase the chances of getting g sick since your immune system has been lowered. When taking this class of drugs, you should keep away from people with communicable diseases such as colds and flu.

Physical therapy

This is therapy where movement is encouraged to reduce the inflammation of the joints that may come due to collagen deficiency. The range of motions will help reduce the joint and muscle pain and increase mobility.

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