Ehlers Danlos Syndrome Overview

Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome Treatments

Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome is a genetic condition, so no cure or remedy exists to reverse the disease or permanently eliminate its symptoms. However, effective means of dealing with EDS do exist. Doctors who treat patients with EDS focus on pain management and preventive care for symptoms that have not presented.

Daily pain management often uses a combination of pain relievers and physical therapy. A patient's physical therapy focuses on strengthening muscles, which in turn can strengthen the patient's joints. A doctor or physical therapist should prescribe a carefully planned workout routine because some exercises are detrimental to EDS patients. Any exercise that involves locking the joints, especially weightlifting, should be avoided, because these cause the joints additional stress and harm [source: Mayo Clinic].

Preventive care methods involve making a person's environment as safe as possible and learning how to protect joints from further damage. Even simple daily activities, such as reaching for cereal on a high shelf, can cause injury. Homes should be arranged to accommodate daily needs and protect the body from potential damage, such as falls. Special self-help devices, such as step stools, hair dryer stands and long-handled combs, can be used to prevent overstretching [source: UW Medicine].

Although these measures help alleviate pain and prevent injury on a day-to-day basis, patients with EDS should consult several types of doctors, including ophthalmologists, dentists and EDS specialists, to design a complete treatment plan. Genetic counselors are an important component of treatment for individuals with EDS. By analyzing the genetic structure of the problematic collagen, geneticists can understand more clearly which type of EDS a patient has. Identifying the EDS type enables doctors to design an effective treatment plan tailored to the individual. A genetic counselor explains the technical side of the geneticists' findings and serves as an information resource, answering questions and providing additional facts. Genetic counselors can also connect patients to support groups and can counsel families dealing with the disease [source: Knutel].

One primary service provided by genetic counselors is helping EDS patients and their partners understand and evaluate the risks of pregnancy. Read on for more information about pregnancy and EDS.