Ehlers-Danlos syndromes (EDS) affect connective tissues which, located all over the body, provide support to the skin, tendons, ligaments, blood vessels, bones and internal organs. There are 13 types of Ehlers-Danlos Syndromes, all of which are considered rare. The most common type is hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (hEDS), which is the subject of this edition of the Jobskin® blog.
The majority of cases of hEDS occur to a genetic condition called 'autosomal dominant inheritance'. This occurs when the gene that causes EDS is passed on by one parent to their child, resulting in a 50% risk that the child will develop the condition. In some cases, this faulty gene is not inherited in this way but instead occurs spontaneously.
A parent with EDS can only pass on the same type of condition to their child and the severity of the condition can vary widely, even between members of the same family. The connective tissues of people with EDS are weaker than those of people without the condition. Symptoms of hEDS include:
- Joint hypermobility
- Loose and unstable joints can be painful and are prone to becoming dislocated
- Some joints can, when in motion, produce a clicking sound
- Tiredness and fatigue
- Skin that bruises easily
- Digestive problems such as heartburn, indigestion and constipation
- Dizziness and an elevated heart rate when standing up
- Problems with internal organs, such as prolapses
- Stress incontinence
Currently, no one test can establish whether an individual has hEDS. The diagnosis is made using physical examinations along with reference to the medical history of both the individual and their family. If hEDS is suspected by a GP, they will refer the individual to a genetics service and/or a rheumatologist.
There are many ways to help reduce the severity of hEDS symptoms. These include:
- Advice from specialists. Physiotherapists can recommend exercises that help to avoid injury, manage pain and strengthen joints. Occupational therapists can advise on ways to better manage day-to-day activities as well as recommend useful equipment.
- Counselling and CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) can aid with pain management
- The wearing of made-to-measure SDO® (Sensory Dynamic Orthosis) garments has been shown to help with the management of hEDS symptoms. Jobskin® is a specialist supplier of these garments.
You can visit https://www.ehlers-danlos.org/ if you need support and advice regarding EDS. This is the website of Ehlers-Danlos Support UK, the UK's only charity supporting people with EDS.
For more details about Jobskin® dynamic compression garments that can help people with EDS manage their condition, please browse our website. Do not hesitate to contact our dedicated team for further information.