What Is Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome?
Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, or EDS, is a group of disorders that affect the connective tissues in the body. The tissues include blood, bone, fat, and cartilage. These tissues are responsible for supporting other tissues and organs in the body.Ehlers danlos syndrome
Connective tissues are complex protein mixtures along with other substances. These provide elasticity and strength to the body’s underlying structures.
What Are The Symptoms Of Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome?
Doctors have classified Ehlers-Danlos syndrome into 13 different types based on –
- The notable features
- The parts where the symptoms appear on the body
Each type of EDS has its specific symptoms.
The most common form of EDS is hypermobile EDS, or Ehlers-Danlos hypermobility. The EDS symptoms for this are –
Overly flexible (hypermobile) joints
The connective tissue between joints is looser, so the joints move far beyond the normal range of motion. Dislocations and joint pain are extremely common.
Thin and stretchy skin
The weak connective tissue allows the skin to stretch beyond normal. People will be able to pull the skin up away from the flesh which snaps back when they let it go. The skin might also feel velvety and soft.
Skin doesn’t heal well in hypermobile EDS. Additionally, patients experience excessive bruising.
Vascular Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome is a more severe form of the disease. In this, the walls of your blood vessels, uterus, and intestines can rupture. If you’re thinking of starting a family, speak to a genetic counselor before you do. This is because Vascular EDS can cause serious potential complications in pregnancies.
What Are The Causes Of Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome?
Collagen is the protein that adds strength and flexibility to connective tissues. A defect in collagen is the cause of Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. The condition is genetic and people with the faulty gene have either weak or not enough normal collagen in their connective tissues.
The defect prevents the connective tissue from properly supporting other tissues, organs, and muscles.
The National Organization for Rare Disorders states that the risk of a parent with EDS passing the gene on to the next generation is either 25% or 50%. This depends on whether the gene is recessive or dominant.
Why Does Ehler-Danlos Cause Pain?
Chronic (long-term) pain is common in Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and is usually severe. The pain is caused due to –
- Joints moving out of position
- Previous surgery (might be done to treat pain)
- Weakness in the muscles
- Improper movement of the neck and back
- Issues with the sense of joint position
Patients might feel general body ache, exhaustion, headaches, stomach aches, and pains in the face, jaw, or genitals.
How Does Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome Affect Your Daily Living?
People with EDS tend to encounter a lot of difficulties in daily life. However, one person’s experience with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome might not be similar to another person’s.
Some of the complications a patient with EDS faces are –
While they can live life as normal as other people, patients with EDS might feel constraints with their mobility. A person with vascular EDS might experience serious fatal complications like a main blood vessel or organ tearing open.
The genetic mutation that affects collagen can cause arthritis in people with Ehler-Danlos syndrome. This is because of the continuous damage that joints undergo. Patients are advised to not extend or lock their joints too much as this can lead to chronic arthritis.
Kyphoscoliosis EDS can cause breathing problems. This occurs due to the abnormal bending of the spin – both forward and sideways.
Dental disease, particularly in the gums, occurs repeatedly in a person with hypermobile EDS.
As mentioned earlier, patients with EDS experience extreme and chronic pain.
Along with breathing problems, Kyphoscoliosis EDS can cause visual damage due to the dislocation of the retina.
How Is Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome Diagnosed?
Your general healthcare practitioner will use the combination of several tests and your family history to diagnose Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. The tests might include –
The most common way to diagnose EDS is by looking for a faulty gene.
Your doctor might remove a sample of your skin and examine it under a microscope to look for any signs of the disorder.
Your doctor will evaluate how far the joints can move and how much the skin can stretch.
X-rays and CT scans help identify abnormalities of the heart and bone curvature.
What Treatments Are Available For Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome? Is There A Cure For EDS?
Currently, there is no cure for Ehlers-Danlos connective tissue disorder. However, treatment aims at providing symptomatic relief and reduction of the risk of complications.
Cellular therapy is also known as cell therapy or cell transplantation which helps in curing a number of special conditions. In this treatment, viable cells are either grafted, injected or implanted into a patient. This procedure triggers a medicinal effect. For example, cancer patients are transplanted with T-cells. These fight cancer cells through cell-mediated immunity. Similarly, stem cell grafts can regenerate diseased tissues.
Exercise and Physical Therapy
You must work with a physical therapist who is familiar with EDS. Physical therapy goes a long way in managing joint symptoms and preventing dislocations.
In addition to physical therapy and exercise, your therapist might recommend splints and braces to support the weaker joints.
The syndrome causes a lot of discomfort and chronic pain in the muscles, joints, and nerves. Additionally, it can also cause headaches and stomach problems.
Medication is crucial for pain management and involves taking over-the-counter drugs such as Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) or Acetaminophen (Tylenol). Acute injuries might require prescription pain relief.
Doctors might prescribe additional medications for managing other symptoms. People with Vascular Ehlers-Danlos syndrome might require medication to lower their blood pressure to reduce the chances of a blood vessel rupture.
Doctors might advise surgery for any of the following scenarios –
- Fixing ruptured blood vessels
- Stabilizing a joint
- Repairing a damaged joint
- Reducing pressure on the nerves
However, because Ehlers-Danlos syndrome causes the skin to heal slowly, surgery isn’t always recommended due to the additional risk.
What Is Involved In The Cellular Therapy Treatment of Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome?
The cellular therapy involved in the treatment of EDS is comprehensive prolotherapy. In this treatment, various injections are administered to the affected joint. The therapy is designed to induce inflammation, thereby alerting the body’s healing factors and immune cells. These rush to the injection site and rebuild and repair degenerated or injured soft tissues or joints.
The goal of cellular therapy in Ehlers-Danlos syndrome is to find the balance between repair and breakdown of cells in the body. Cellular therapy treatments help treat EDS the same way conventional treatments do. It helps in stabilizing painful joints, decreasing inflammation and pain, increasing circulation, and building strength.
Where Does OrthoCure Clinic Come In?
At the OrthoCure clinic, Dr. Hanson examines his patients under fluoroscopy and ultrasound. This helps him understand what is loose, weak, and injured. He then proceeds to treat the patient with advanced cellular therapies.
To know more about how we can help with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, schedule a consultation by calling (612) 800-5096.
What Is Dysautonomia?
Dysautonomia is an umbrella term referring to medical conditions caused due to issues with the Autonomic Nervous System. The Autonomic Nervous System, or ANS, controls involuntary functions of the human body, some of which are –
- Blood Pressure
- Bladder Function
- Hormonal Function
- Sexual Function
- Body and Skin Temperature
The Autonomic Nervous System also controls numerous other involuntary functions.
Is Dysautonomia And What Causes It?
Dysautonomia is also known as Autonomic Dysfunction or Autonomic Neuropathy. It is a pretty common condition and affects around 70 million people around the globe.
The condition occurs when the Autonomic Nervous System doesn’t function as it should.
Primary dysautonomia is either inherited or is caused by a degenerative disease. Secondary dysautonomia occurs as a result of another condition or an injury.
Some conditions that can lead to secondary dysautonomia are –
- Multiple sclerosis
- Diabetes mellitus
- Parkinson’s disease
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Celiac disease
What Are The Symptoms of Dysautonomia?
Dysautonomia symptoms vary from one patient to another. Certain symptoms can also be present at one time and then disappear, only to reappear at a later time. Similarly, dysautonomia symptoms can occur either when you’re physically or emotionally calm, or when you’re in disarray.
The symptoms can be either mild or extremely interfering in your everyday life.
Some common dysautonomia symptoms are –
- Balance issues, when you’re unable to stand upright
- Sensitivity to light and noise
- Shortness of breath
- Discomfort or pain in the chest
- Dizziness or vertigo
- Loss of consciousness
- Rapid changes in body or skin temperature
- Excessive fatigue
- Blurred vision
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Difficulty swallowing
- Heart palpitations
- Abnormal heart rate
- Difficulty in focusing
- Swings in blood pressure or heart rate
- Low blood sugar
- Mood swings
- Sleeping problems
- Urinary incontinence
- Frequent urination
- Erectile dysfunction
- Intolerance to exercise
Certain environmental and emotional conditions can trigger the symptoms of dysautonomia. These can be –
- Consumption of alcohol
- Tight clothing
- Hot environments
What Are The Different Types Of Dysautonomia?
As mentioned earlier, dysautonomia refers to numerous conditions arising from the same problem. It includes issues with the autonomic nervous system. Also, the improper function of the ANS leads to up to 15 different types of dysautonomia.
Neurocardiogenic syncope, or NCS, is the most common type of dysautonomia. It leads to fainting spells that happen either once or twice in your life or numerous times in a single day. NCS is also known as vasovagal syncope or situational syncope.
Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS)
POTS is a disorder that causes circulation (blood flow) issues. Therefore, it can lead to your heart beating too fast when you stand up. As a result, the patient experiences fainting, shortness of breath, and chest pain.
Familial dysautonomia is exactly how it sounds. It is inherited genetically. FD causes a lack of eye tears, decreased pain sensitivity, and issues with body temperature regulation. FD commonly affects Jewish people. Especially those of Eastern European heritage (Ashkenazi Jewish heritage).
Multiple System Atrophy
Multiple System Atrophy, or MSA, is a life-threatening type of dysautonomia. It develops in adults over the age of 40. It causes issues with the heart rate, lowered blood pressure, loss of bladder control, and erectile dysfunction.
Pure Autonomic Failure
Patients with pure autonomic failure type of dysautonomia experience a drop in blood pressure when they stand. Symptoms include dizziness, issues with vision, chest pain, tiredness, and fainting. Therefore, these symptoms can sometimes be relieved by sitting down or lying down.
What Is The Treatment For Autonomic Dysfunction?
Presently, there is no cure for primary dysautonomia. However, the symptoms involved with secondary autonomias often improve when the underlying condition is taken care of.
The current “treatment” strategy aims at reducing symptoms to the point where the individual can start to strengthen their body and condition it. This helps in balancing the effects of autonomic dysfunction when the ANS isn’t functioning as it should.
The treatment plan that is charted out depends on the specific details of each patient’s combination of symptoms. While treatment is custom-made, it often consists of physical therapy, counseling, and exercise. All three plans help patients cope with their medical condition and the lifestyle changes that accompany it.
Different doctors may be involved in the treatment stage. They may include cardiologists, neurologists, or any other doctor that can help manage issues with the nervous system.
Medications might be prescribed by your healthcare provider to reduce some of the symptoms. These are changed over time based on any physical changes that the patient experiences. Therefore, the effects of the medication can take a while before the patient feels them.
Cellular therapy as a treatment of Dysautonomia
It is a treatment method that involves injecting human cells to repair or replace damaged cells or tissues. Several different types of cells are used as part of treatment for various conditions and diseases.
Some of the cells that are used are –
- Hematopoietic stem cells (blood-forming)
- Skeletal muscle stem cells
- Mesenchymal stem cells
- Dendritic cells
- Pancreatic islet cells
What Is Cellular Therapy Used For?
Cellular therapy has a lot of potential applications, including –
- Autoimmune disease treatment
- Cancers treatment
- Infectious disease treatment
- Urinary problems treatment
- Repairing injuries to the spinal cord
- Rebuilding damaged joint cartilages
- Improving a weak immune system
- Helping with neurological disorders in patients
Cellular Therapy Treatment of Dysautonomia
A 2014 study was conducted by Vanderbilt University and the University of Oklahoma. In it, researchers found antibodies blocking certain receptors on nerve cells of patients with dysautonomia.
The cellular therapy used in the treatment of dysautonomia is Mesenchymal stem cell therapy. This treatment involves the extraction of stem cells from the body fat of the patient in question. MSC therapy inhibits inflammatory cells in the central nervous system. Additionally, it also manages known autoimmune factors. Both of them contribute to the success of cellular therapy in patients with dysautonomia.
Mesenchymal stem cell transplantation is generally well tolerated, and results vary on the delivery route. Speak to your treatment provider to know if cellular therapy is for you.
How Do You Live With Autonomic Dysfunction?
Many ways help manage the symptoms of dysautonomia. Some of them are –
- Drinking a lot of water. Fluids help keep your blood volume up.
- Add extra salt (3-5 grams a day) to your diet. Salt helps regulate blood pressure.
- Eat a healthy diet.
- Get adequate sleep.
- Maintain your weight.
- If you have diabetes, keep your blood sugar within the normal range.
- Should you feel dizzy, sit or lie down and raise your feet.
- Compression stockings help maintain blood pressure.
- Avoid taking hot baths or showers.
- Take the proper amount of rest. Don’t overwork yourself.
- Avoid standing or sitting for a long time.
- Do not smoke.
- Do not consume alcoholic beverages.
- Avoid caffeine if your heart rate is raised.
- If you suffer from migraines, skip artificial sweeteners.
At the OrthoCure Clinic, we strive to not only identify but also heal the underlying causes of any pain and dysfunction a person feels. The goal at OrthoCure Clinic is to help people live their lives with full vitality.
Dr. Ron Hanson is our in-house expert who specializes in the research, development, and utilization of advanced cellular therapies. His expertise combined with his passion for minimally invasive healing procedures makes OrthoCure Clinic the perfect place for patients.
We understand that it takes a village to help a patient on their journey to healing. Call us at (612) 800-5096 to schedule an appointment with us today!