is a condition where cartilage deteriorates.
It is also known as Chronic atrophic polychondritis, Meyenburg-Altherr-Uehlinger syndrome, von Meyenburg's disease, Generalized chondromalacia, or Systemic chondromalacia.
All cartilage areas can be affected, though in many cases the disease will affect several areas where cartilage is found in the body, and leave others entirely alone. Parts of the body with cartilage, and therefore potentially affected by polychondritis, include the ears
, heart valves
and of course all areas where musculo-skeletal tissues are connected by cartilage. Specific resultant conditions may include Type 3 Tracheomalacia
Reasons for disease onset are not known.
It is considered to possibly be an auto-immune disease in which the human's body's immune system begins to attack and destroy the cartilage tissues in the body.
Treatment plans typically involve suppression of the immune system with medicines
, which often result in a side effect of increasing the risk of other infections.
While the disease can come on at various times, most frequent time for onset is in the late 40's to early 50's. Some literature reports a slightly higher occurrence in females than males, while other literature asserts that sex is apparently not a statistically significant factor in the occurrence rate of the disease. Polychondritis is one of many subclasses of disease in the area of Rheumatology