Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS) is the “catch-all” diagnosis for a cluster of disorders that can affect someone’s connective tissues. It was largely unknown to most people until fairly recently when medical researchers began to look for genetic markers that could identify it.
Your body’s connective tissues provide support, structure and strength to your organs, joints and other tissues. EDS is caused by a defect in the production or function of your body’s collagen, which is the main protein component of connective tissues. Those who have EDS generally have some form of “hyper flexibility” that can be detected by examination.
EDS can be disabling for some people
EDS can manifest in different ways and has various subtypes, each with its own set of symptoms. That being said, here are a few ways in which EDS can be disabling:
- Joint instability and dislocation: The hypermobility of EDS can cause joint instability, frequent dislocations and chronic joint pain. Dislocated joints can be painful, limit mobility and affect a sufferer’s ability to perform essential daily activities.
- Chronic pain: People with EDS may experience chronic pain due to joint and muscle problems, as well as nerve-related issues. This pain can be severe and debilitating, impacting their ability to engage in all kinds of physical activities.
- Skin and wound issues: EDS can affect the skin, making it fragile, stretchy and prone to tearing or bruising easily. Slow wound healing and the formation of abnormal scars are common. These skin-related problems can cause chronic wounds, skin infections and difficulties with healing.
- Fatigue and weakness: Chronic fatigue and muscle weakness are both common with EDS, which can significantly impact a sufferer’s energy levels. Associated conditions like dysautonomia or sleep disorders may further aggravate the problem.
- Organ and vascular complications: In some forms of EDS, there is a risk of complications involving organs and blood vessels.
It is important to note that the severity of disability can vary widely among individuals with EDS. While some individuals may have mild symptoms and lead relatively normal lives, others may experience significant impairments. If you’re having trouble getting your disability claim approved, it may be time to seek legal guidance.