A disease characterized by inflammation of the connective tissue (which supports and connects all parts of the body).Chronic swelling of the connective tissue causes damage to the skin, joints, kidneys, nervous system and mucous membranes. The disease begins with fever, joint pain and fatigue. Additional symptoms continue to develop over the years including nausea, fatigue, weight loss, arthritis, headaches and epilepsy. Problems with heart, lung and kidney function may also result. This condition is diagnosed most frequently in young women but also occurs in children.