Connective tissue is found throughout the body and is critical for support and structure. Tendons, ligaments, blood, bone, lymph, and fat tissue are among the various types of connective tissue that facilitate proper bodily functioning.
Some individuals are born with a genetic problem that interferes with proper collagen production and causes a connective tissue disorder known as Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, or EDS. The condition has 13 different sub-types, each manifesting in unique signs and symptoms. Generally, these individuals present with abnormally flexible joints (hypermobility), abnormally stretchy skin (hyperextensibility), and fragile tissues. Symptoms of EDS are expansive and can include:
-long-lasting or frequent pain in the muscles or bones
-loose, unstable joints that often dislocate
-symptoms of osteoarthritis
-skin that easily tears
-wounds that heal slowly
-skin that feels velvety
-fragile blood vessels
There is no known cure, but medications, physical therapy, and lifestyle changes are commonly-used treatments to help with symptom management. Health and Behavioral intervention including nutrition are important components of management. The registered dietitian-nutritionist at the POTS and Dysautonomia Treatment Center will help you design a customized nutrition plan to provide your body with the most appropriate energy and supplemental nutrients that takes into account your specific dietary needs and preferences. The team of therapists and providers at the POTS Treatment Center can also help you cope with other aspects of EDS to help you achieve better quality of life. As with other conditions, an individual’s experience is uniquely his or hers and personalized care is invaluable.
Courtney Nordhus, MS, RDN, LD