Conventional Treatments for Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS)
What is Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS)?
Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS) is a group of inherited medical conditions that affect connective tissues in the body. EDS manifests as weak or insufficient collagen in the body’s tissues. This prevents connective tissues from adequately supporting body structures, including — but not limited to — the skin, joints and blood vessels. Ehlers-Danlos syndrome is classified into 13 types based on the specific symptoms and the affected part(s) of the body.
What is the treatment for Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS)?
While there is no cure for Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS), treatments are available to help manage symptoms and prevent complications, such as chronic joint pain, joint dislocations, early onset arthritis and damaged blood vessels. Conventional treatment methods include medication, physical therapy and surgery.
One of the main goals of EDS treatment is reducing pain levels. This can be accomplished through a variety of medications, including over-the-counter or prescription pain and anti-inflammatory medication (especially for acute injuries and severe pain).
Medication to lower blood pressure may also be prescribed. EDS often affects the blood vessels; lowering blood pressure levels reduces stress on weakened blood vessels. This decreases the risk of ruptured blood vessels.
Dislocations or subluxations (partial dislocations) and other joint injuries are common in individuals with EDS. Physical therapy can help strengthen muscles and stabilize joints to prevent or minimize injuries.
Braces can also help prevent dislocations and other injuries in specific joints. Mobility devices, such as wheelchairs, scooters, etc., may be helpful when joint instability is severe.
Surgery may be needed to repair joints that have been damaged by repeated or severe dislocations. However, although surgery is always a risk, it is especially risky for individuals with EDS due to weakened connective tissues and skin.
If EDS affects the circulatory system, surgery may be needed to repair ruptured blood vessels or other organs.
Individuals should work with their health care provider(s) to individualize a treatment plan for their specific type and symptoms of EDS.