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Welcome, and for a newbie, you did a great job of presenting your information and dilemma. Mixed connective tissue disease is a clinical diagnosis that includes typically features of lupus, systemic sclerosis, and polymyositis, but one or the other may dominate the clinical picture. So many of the autoimmune diseases do NOT present in a clear, textbook way, and many people end up with overlapping signs and symptoms as well as labs. Generally MCTD involves HIGH levels of anti-RNP, but lower levels can be seen in lupus. Low levels of ANA can occur in MCTD, where they may be higher in pure lupus. Some people with MCTD get RA as well. So it is often hard to distinguish, especially early on. To clarify your thinking, I would get copies of your labs, research MCTD, look at all the symptoms you've had, and see where you fit. The treatment will be the same, so it really is a matter of how you think about this. People with MCTD often have very swollen hands and fingers early on, plus early Raynaud's as dominant features. Your facial blushing does sound like a malar manifestation, as not everyone with lupus gets a "rash". If you have high CK or aldolase levels on labs, you have features of myositis, muscle inflammation. If your finger skin is very tight, you have features of sclerosis, if that is present when fingers are NOT swollen. You may have to come to terms with this in your own mind after researching all you can. In a sense, people with MCTD DO have lupus as a part of their disease. It is just not ONLY lupus, but lupus plus some other autoimmune disorders. Look for labs of anti-dsDNA and anti-Smith as well. They are very specific for lupus and may help clarify this for you. I hope this helps. These diseases are very complex, fuzzy sometimes to diagnose, and take time to digest and understand. Bottom line is-I hope you feel better with treatment and that occurs soon for you.

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