May 15, 2013

It's EDS Awareness Month!

No, it is NOT erectile dysfunction syndrome awareness month, nor is "EDS" an acronym for that! EDS stands for Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and May marks a special month of awareness for this life-altering genetic connective tissue disorder which often results in extreme joint hypermobility and frequent dislocations among myriad other symptoms. I did not learn I had this condition until long after my POTS diagnosis. Many people with EDS also suffer from dysautonomia as a secondary condition. My POTS and TMJ are likely both linked to EDS as an underlying cause.

As a former ballet dancer I have always been very flexible. And that was a major attribute growing up. But never realized I had stretchy skin until an orthopedist pointed it out. And more importantly, I never realized that these seemingly harmless traits would predispose me to other serious health issues like POTS. I am very fortunate that my joints seem to be holding up okay so far (knock on wood!) and feel for all the EDS patients who have already had multiple joint replacements at my age or younger. EDS manifests differently in each patient although most of us share those hallmark traits of flexible skin and joints. Some people have very severe cases which can result in disability and even death, and others are plagued by milder cases that don't impose a major impact on daily life.

If you are extremely flexible and suspect you or someone you know may suffer from EDS, please talk to your doctor about it. And consider getting a referral for genetic testing. Diagnosis can lead to more comprehensive, tailored treatment and can help doctors and surgeons determine safer means of treatment. For instance, when I was struck with appendicitis and found myself in an emergency situation, I was able to inform the surgeon and anesthesiologist of my EDS before surgery. They took extra special care of me because of my EDS diagnosis, paying careful attention to the position of my jaw during surgery, as it is prone to dislocations. Knowledge is power. Take ownership of your health to help your healthcare team provide you with the best care possible!

1 comment:

  1. I'm so glad to see another post from you! And I never would have thought people would confuse ti for erectile dysfunction, haha!