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Lupus

What CTD do I have

10/04/2001

Question:

I have a abnormal ANA, a false positive VDRL, and numerous health problems ranging from recurrent infections to severe joint pain. But my Rheummy only states that I have a mild connective tissue disease and that he can not pin point which one. In the meantime the only medication I am on is a aspirin a day. How can I find out which CTD I have.

Answer:

Unfortunately the knowledge of Connective tissue diseases (CTDs) is very limited; there has not been enough research to understand these problems. Based on what is known, sometimes it is difficult to give a clear diagnosis; the problem in such patients is often referred to as `Undifferentiated CTD`; most of the times people who have these problems continue to have a relatively milder course of disease; sometimes, UCTD may evolve into a more clearly understood diseases such as lupus. In your case, your rheumatologists may consider, depending on the other evidence on examination and history, lupus anticoagulant and anticardiolipin antibodies, serum IgA levels, and titers of ANA. Lower titers up to 1:80, or even 1:160, may be less indicative of serious diseases, whereas higher titers that persist for a long time might indicate the need for a more close monitoring by your rheumatologist.

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Response by:

Ram Raj   Singh, MD Ram Raj Singh, MD
Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati