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Ehlers Danlos Syndrome Overview

Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome Symptoms

Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome is a lifelong condition, but daily symptoms vary from patient to patient. Daily symptoms might be severe and debilitating, causing immobility and the risk of rupture, or they could be so minor that the disease goes undiagnosed [source: Davis]. Most EDS symptoms can be organized into two categories: skin-related symptoms and joint-related symptoms.

Skin-related symptoms largely relate to issues of sensitivity and fragility. Hyperextensibility, in which skin becomes overly stretchy like a rubber band, is one such symptom. The skin might also appear unusually velvety and soft, or it might be malleable and "doughy" [source: UW Medicine]. In other cases, specifically in vascular EDS, extremely fragile skin is almost translucent and is highly vulnerable to tearing. Whether the skin is stretchy or delicate, certain complications, such as increased bruising, abnormal scarring, cysts beneath the skin and premature aging, can arise [source: Mayo Clinic]. Wounds, particularly those that have been stitched, might also have difficulty healing because of the skin's condition. The most severe possible complication is when an artery or organ ruptures because the skin is too thin to provide adequate protection, which occurs in vascular EDS.

Joint-related symptoms largely affect a person's ability to move. Hypermobility, when a joint is overly loose, occurs in small and large joints -- from a toe to a shoulder -- and can cause many complications. Dangerous complications associated with hypermobility include susceptibility to dislocation, chronic joint pain, early onset arthritis and osteoporosis. In rare cases, hip dislocation and spine curvature can result from deteriorating bone tissue.

Though the symptoms of EDS might appear daunting, several treatments and measures exist to relieve patients' pain and difficulties. EDS in itself is not fatal, and most people diagnosed with it are able to live a relatively normal life because its symptoms are treatable.