Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis

What are the symptoms of Ehlers-Danlos syndrome?

Symptoms of Ehlers-Danlos syndromes include loose skin that stretches away from the body easily and excessively. The skin can appear saggy and soft and may tear easily and be fragile.

Signs of Ehlers-Danlos syndromes include easy bruising without significant trauma and joints that can move beyond the normal range of motion. Joint hypermobility in Ehlers-Danlos syndromes can lead to multiple joint dislocations.

How are Ehlers-Danlos syndromes diagnosed?

The diagnosis of Ehlers-Danlos syndrome is based upon the clinical findings of the patient and the family history. For some types of Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, a skin biopsy to determine the chemical makeup of the connective tissue can help to suggest the diagnosis.

How are Ehlers-Danlos syndromes treated?

Ehlers-Danlos syndromes are treated according to the particular manifestations present in a given individual.

Skin protection (from injury of trauma and sun, etc.) is critical. Wounds must be tended with great care and infections treated and prevented. Suturing can be difficult as the skin can be extremely fragile.

Joint injury must be avoided. Occasionally, bracing may be necessary to maintain joint stability. Exercises that strengthen the muscles that support the joints can help to minimize joint injury. Contact sports and activities involving joint impact should be avoided.

Medically reviewed by Martin E Zipser, MD; American Board of Surgery

REFERENCE: UpToDate. Clinical manifestations and diagnosis of Ehlers-Danlos syndromes.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/4/2016

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