Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS) is a collection of inherited conditions that fit into a larger group, known as heritable disorders of connective tissue.
Connective tissues provide support in skin, tendons, ligaments, blood vessels, internal organs and bones.
There are different types of EDS that may share some features, including:
The fragile skin and unstable joints found in EDS may be the result of faulty collagen.
Collagen is a protein in connective tissue that acts as a "glue" in the body, adding strength and elasticity. There are many different kinds, including collagens I, III and V. The type of EDS depends on which collagen is involved.
The different types of EDS are caused by alterations in certain genes that make collagen weaker. Sometimes the amount of collagen in the body is reduced. The faulty genes can be passed from parents to their child.
People with EDS typically have loose joints; which means that the limbs bend more than usual. This can cause floppy joints in infancy, and some affected children take longer to sit, stand and walk.
The four most common types of EDS include:
There are also other, rarer, types of EDS, including dermatosparaxis and arthrochalasic. New genes have been found that explain other rare types of EDS.
Fatigue is common in most types of EDS. People who have been diagnosed with the condition, may find they need to conserve their energy and pace their activities.
You should avoid heavy lifting, contact sports and keeping your joints in one position for lengthy periods.
Simple measures can help protect some of the joints and help reduce pain. Exercise is important to strengthen the muscles that support the joints and so help minimise joint dislocations. Swimming, Pilates and exercises that strengthen core muscles are the most effective.
It is recommended that those with vascular EDS wear a medical alert bracelet.
EDS is often a response by the body as a natural compensation for a weakness. In my case it could have developed as a result of the spasticity from which I suffered when I was an eight month old baby.
Together with EDS, I also have POTS and Histamine Intolerance; these three often go together in one person, but it does not necessarily follow.
As with most conditions, each one worsens with age, lack of immunity and allergic intolerances.
For more information visit: http://www.ehlers-danlos.org