Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome Treatment in Arlington, TX
Does your skin bruise easily? Are your joints overly flexible? You may have Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS), a group of genetic disorders that causes your body to improperly produce proteins that support your skin, bones, blood vessels, and other organs.
The disease is very rare, with about 1 in 5,000 people affected worldwide. While there is no cure for EDS, treatment involves managing symptoms and protecting your body from damage. To speak with an Ehlers-Danlos syndrome specialist today in Arlington, call (817) 203-2760 or contact Dr. Jessica Stangenwald online.
What Are Symptoms of EDS?
While the symptoms of EDS differ from type to type, common ones of each include:
- loose joints
- joint pain
- fragile, small blood vessels
- abnormal scar formation and wound healing
- soft, velvety, stretchy skin that bruises easily
Less common symptoms include scoliosis at birth, cardiac-valvular problems, poor muscle tone, and gum disease. Many patients with EDS have shown structural brain and spine anomalies, and there is evidence to suggest an association between EDS and epileptic seizures. More research is needed for the latter.
If symptoms aren’t properly treated, complications of Ehlers-Danlos syndrome can include:
- chronic joint pain
- frequent joint dislocations
- the rupturing of the intestines
- early onset arthritis
Are There Different Types of EDS?
There are 13 different subtypes (types) of EDS, and each subtype causes different symptoms to different parts of the body:
- classic ehlers-danlos syndrome (cEDS): stretchy skin, atrophic (depressed) scars, and hypermobile joints
- classic-like ehlers-danlos syndrome (clEDS): stretchy skin, joint hypermobility, and easily-bruised skin
- cardiac-valvular ehlers-danlos syndrome (cvEDS): stretchy, thin, and easily-bruised skin, hypermobile joints, and severe, progressive cardiac-valvular issues
- vascular ehlers-danlos syndrome (vEDS): fragile internal tissues, such as arteries, muscles, and organs like the heart and colon
- hypermobile ehlers-danlos syndrome (formally known as ehlers-danlos syndrome type 3): joint pain, elbow and hip dislocations, and fatigue
- arthrochalasia ehlers-danlos syndrome (aEDS): joint hypermobility, hip dislocation, and stretchy skin
- dermatosparaxis ehlers-danlos syndrome (dEDS): soft, doughy, and saggy skin, severe bruising/scarring, short stature, and hernias
- kyphoscoliotic ehlers-danlos syndrome (kEDS): decrease muscle tone, spine deformity, and joint hypermobility and dislocation
- brittle cornea syndrome (BCS): thin cornea, the bulging of the cornea into a cone, and the bluish coloration of the whites of the eyes
- spondylodysplastic ehlers-danlos syndrome (spEDS): short stature, decreased muscle tone, and bowing of the limbs
- musculocontractural ehlers-danlos syndrome (mcEDS): clubfoot, abnormal cranial features at birth, stretchy skin, easy bruising/scarring, increased palm wrinkling
- myopathic ehlers-danlos syndrome (mEDS): muscle atrophy and hypermobile hand joints
- periodontal ehlers-danlos syndrome (pEDS): early gum disease and detached gums
Classical and hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos syndrome are the most common.
How is EDS Diagnosed?
Ways to diagnose Ehlers-Danlos syndrome include:
- physical exam: used to test how far your joints bend, how much your skin stretches, and to look for scars on your skin
- medical/family history: to discover whether any of your family members have displayed symptoms of EDS
- blood tests: to discover certain gene mutations
- echocardiogram: to check for abnormalities using sound waves to create a picture of your heart and blood vessels
- imaging tests: computerized tomography (CT) scan and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan can be used to provide a better picture of your internal organs
- skin biopsy: to check for abnormal collagen production
Can EDS Be Treated?
While there is no cure, EDS treatment involves managing symptoms with:
- physical therapy to strengthen the muscles and stabilize joints
- pain medication
- blood pressure medication to reduce stress on fragile blood vessels
- calcium and vitamin D supplements to help strengthen your bones
- surgery to repair damaged joints
As with any treatment, results will vary from patient to patient, depending on age, genetics, environmental conditions, and other health factors.
If you or your child has Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, ways to prevent skin and joint injuries include:
- avoiding contact sports or weight lifting
- protecting your skin with sunscreen and by avoiding harsh soaps
- avoiding woodwind or brass instruments that may cause lung collapse
- protecting your jaw joint by avoiding chewing gum, ice, or anything hard
- using assistive and padding devices to minimize pressure on your joints
- using soft-bristled tooth brushes
- using thick pens or pencils to ease the strain on your fingers
Reserve Your Appointment Now
If you have a family history of joint pain and loose skin, you should have genetic testing for Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. To speak with an Ehlers-Danlos syndrome specialist today in Arlington, call (817) 203-2760 or contact Dr. Jessica Stangenwald online.
The New You Medical & Infusion Clinic
Address100 Grapevine Hwy
Hurst, TX 76054
10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Tue: 10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Wed: 10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Thu: 10:00 am - 6:00 pm