Ehlers–Danlos syndrome is relatively uncommon. It is a group of illnesses that affects the skin and joints and in some cases the gums, blood vessels and organs. It happens because of alterations of some genes that make collagen weaker and, in some cases, reduce the amount of collagen in the body.
Types of Ehlers-Danlos
Ehlers–Danlos syndrome affects around 1 in 5,000 people in the UK, but the majority of these people can live a relatively normal life. There are many types of Ehlers–Danlos syndrome:
- Classical causes loose and stretchy skin and joints can be loose and flexible
- Periodontal is very like classic but sufferers would also have fragile gums
- Vascular is the most dangerous type as organs and blood vessels can burst
- Kyphoscoliotic causes a badly bent spine during childhood
- Arthrochalasia causes joints to be easily dislocated
- Hypermobility causes painful joints. Skin for sufferers is quite normal however is more prone to bruising
- Dermatospraxis is very rare - it causes wrinkly and saggy skin
There is a lot of support available for people with Ehlers–Danlos syndrome and a lot of information on how to help fight against the pain and symptoms of the illness.
Physiotherapists and occupational therapists are a great source when sufferers require more help. Although it can be painful, patients can take painkillers and anti inflammatory tablets to ease symptoms. For people that suffer from long term pain, the NHS has support groups and lots of information on how to combat the condition. People are encouraged to exercise to build up muscles that support joints.
Ehlers–Danlos syndrome has no cure but there is quite a lot known about it. Thanks to this knowledge and research, there are plenty of ways to make sufferers' quality of life better and help and support is always available. Thankfully many sufferers will go on to live a normal life and not have too many complications due to the condition.