I am a writer, but, most importantly, I am a mother of children affected by high-functioning autism. As far back as I can remember, many of my family members have also been stricken with symptoms that are consistent with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome.
Like many of my listeners, I remember constantly being ill as a child. I couldn't do many of the activities that my peers could do. Sometimes I was sent to the doctor, and other times I was sent home from school. Since my mother was a nurse, I thought that maybe my symptoms were normal. After all, why wouldn't she take me to the doctor to have these symptoms treated?
Ehlers-Danlos syndrome is a genetic disorder that is frightening and elusive to the medical community. It is one of many inherited disorders that affect the connective tissues in the body, including collagen. Many physicians will tell their patients that their symptoms are all in their heads. They might classify the patient as mentally ill, a hypochondriac, or a drug seeker. Sufferers of chronic pain might eventually give up seeking help from the medical community altogether when they are faced with these labels and skeptical physicians.
Ehlers-Danlos syndrome is known to be a condition in which people usually have hypermobile joints and stretchy skin. This is what physicians generally look for when they are considering EDS diagnoses. The truth is that EDS can present in many different ways. There are many different types and forms of EDS, and they affect very different parts of a person's body. A physician who looks for only two signs is missing the big picture of the family history and the patient's symptoms in relation to an EDS diagnosis.
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