Health
Fact-checked

At TheHealthBoard, we're committed to delivering accurate, trustworthy information. Our expert-authored content is rigorously fact-checked and sourced from credible authorities. Discover how we uphold the highest standards in providing you with reliable knowledge.

Learn more...

What is Collagen Disease?

Collagen disease refers to a group of disorders affecting the connective tissues that provide structure and support to the body. These conditions, often autoimmune, can impact skin, joints, and organs. Imagine the body's scaffolding becoming unstable—collagen diseases disrupt this vital framework. Curious about how these diseases manifest and their implications on health? Dive deeper to uncover their complexities and treatments.
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Collagen disease is a term that refers to disorders involving collagen, a type of protein found in many forms of connective tissue. Collagen is very tough and has a glue-like consistency. It makes up around 30% of the protein found in the body and is an important component of the body's physical structure. Diseases involving the collagen can lead to a variety of health problems.

Historically, this term was used to refer to connective tissue diseases, also known as systemic autoimmune diseases. People sometimes referred to such conditions as “collagen vascular diseases.” This usage of the term is considered outdated but still appears in some old textbooks and medical charts. Some examples of systemic autoimmune diseases include rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, scleroderma, and dermatomyositis.

When a doctor suspects that a patient has a collagen disease, biopsy samples are examined under a microscope.
When a doctor suspects that a patient has a collagen disease, biopsy samples are examined under a microscope.

In true collagen disease, the collagen itself is involved in the disease process. Collagen can become inflamed and this may lead to breakdowns of connective tissue that cause problems like joint pain, soreness, tenderness, and muscle weakness. This commonly occurs because the immune system mistakenly identifies collagen as an invader and begins to attack it. The collagen breaks down in response and the body may have difficulty replacing damaged collagen.

Treatment for an autoimmune disease, such as collagen disease, typically involves a cocktail of various medications.
Treatment for an autoimmune disease, such as collagen disease, typically involves a cocktail of various medications.

Some collagen defects are genetic. Certain congenital conditions can interfere with the ability to produce collagen. Many people with genetic connective tissue disorders do not produce enough collagen, cannot produce the right kinds of collagen, or overproduce collagen. A congenital collagen disease can lead to problems with the connective tissue that may lead to a variety of issues from organ damage to undersized or weak muscles.

Scleroderma is a connective tissue disease characterized by the hardening and tightening of the skin's connective tissues.
Scleroderma is a connective tissue disease characterized by the hardening and tightening of the skin's connective tissues.

A collagen disease can also be acquired. Certain types of infections have been linked with damage to the collagen, including diseases that can act as triggers to cause autoimmune disorders, where the body begins attacking itself. People can also develop collagen disorders as a result of repeated injuries, cancers, responses to medications, and other events.

X-rays may be administered in order to diagnose arthritis.
X-rays may be administered in order to diagnose arthritis.

When a doctor suspects that a patient has a collagen disease, biopsies may be requested so that connective tissue from the area of involvement can be examined under a microscope. A complete medical history will be conducted and a physical examination will be performed. This information will be used to develop a diagnosis so the doctor can discuss treatment or management of the disease. For some conditions, no cures are available, and treatment is focused on managing symptoms, keeping patients comfortable, and monitoring patients for signs of complications.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a TheHealthBoard researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Learn more...
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a TheHealthBoard researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Learn more...

You might also Like

Discussion Comments

scifreak

@jessica500- Yes, there is such a thing as taking too much collagen. My niece works in a dermatologist's office as a nurse and she said taking too much collagen can make you look older. It can also trigger collagen disease symptoms. So it is best to take it exactly as it states on the package. If you start to have any unusual symptoms, talk to your doctor.

jessica500

Do people who take collagen supplements that do not need to put themselves at risk for having problems? Is there such a thing as too much collagen or causing problems by having too much?

Post your comments
Login:
Forgot password?
Register:
    • When a doctor suspects that a patient has a collagen disease, biopsy samples are examined under a microscope.
      By: luchschen_shutter
      When a doctor suspects that a patient has a collagen disease, biopsy samples are examined under a microscope.
    • Treatment for an autoimmune disease, such as collagen disease, typically involves a cocktail of various medications.
      By: Vera Kuttelvaserova
      Treatment for an autoimmune disease, such as collagen disease, typically involves a cocktail of various medications.
    • Scleroderma is a connective tissue disease characterized by the hardening and tightening of the skin's connective tissues.
      By: Laurin Rinder
      Scleroderma is a connective tissue disease characterized by the hardening and tightening of the skin's connective tissues.
    • X-rays may be administered in order to diagnose arthritis.
      By: neftali
      X-rays may be administered in order to diagnose arthritis.
    • Rheumatoid arthritis is an example of a systemic autoimmune disorder.
      By: rob3000
      Rheumatoid arthritis is an example of a systemic autoimmune disorder.
    • Injectable drugs may be used to soothe joint pain caused by collagen disease.
      By: Andrei Tsalko
      Injectable drugs may be used to soothe joint pain caused by collagen disease.