Northside Health Library

Collagen vascular disease


Collagen vascular disease occurs when problems with the immune system affect collagen.

Collagen is a tough, fiber-like protein that makes up 30% of body protein. It contributes to the structure of tendons, bones, and connective tissues.

In a class of diseases known as autoimmune disorders, the body's immune system attacks its own tissues. Some of these diseases have similarities, including arthritis and inflammation of arteries in the tissues that connect joints and other tissues. These diseases are known as collagen vascular diseases.

Collagen vascular diseases include:


Symptoms of collagen vascular disease vary from disease to disease, but may include:

  • Back pain
  • Chest pain and shortness of breath
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Fever
  • Painful, swollen joints
  • Rashes

Review Date: 2/9/2011
Reviewed By: Michael E. Makover, MD, professor and attending in Rheumatology at the New York University Medical Center, New York, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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