Thought to affect between 5000 to 20000 people throughout the world, Hypermobile EDS is a rare disease that can run in families. It is the most common type of Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and can greatly impact a patient’s daily life.
Here, we explore what Hypermobile EDS is, and how it impacts heart health.
What is Hypermobile EDS?
Hypermobile EDS is a disease thought to be associated with nervous system malfunction. It is linked to Postural Tachycardia Syndrome (PoTS), with around half of patients having both conditions. PoTS is characterised by a sustained increase in heart rate and high blood pressure. While Hypermobile EDS is known to be the least severe form of EDS, the condition can still cause significant complications.
Common symptoms of Hypermobile EDS include:
- Joint hypermobility
- Smooth, soft skin
- Chronic musculoskeletal pain
- Fast heart rate
It is thought to be an inherited condition, but the exact cause is unknown. Researchers are yet to identify the genes responsible. What is known, is that those who have Hypermobile EDS have a 50% of passing it down to their children.
How does Hypermobile EDS impact the heart?
Hypermobile EDS can trigger a fast heart rate, otherwise known as Arrhythmia. Your heart rate is controlled via electrical impulses. If they fail to work correctly, it can cause an irregular or fast heartbeat. Another way the disease can cause heart issues is down to weak blood vessels. As they weaken, they become susceptible to tearing and stretching.
It is worth noting that heart related issues are a rare side effect of Hypermobile EDS. However, if you do experience any symptoms such as pain in the chest, an irregular heart rate, or shortness of breath, you should seek advice from a medical specialist.
If left untreated, heart problems can lead to a stroke or a heart attack, proving life threatening for the patients.
What treatments are available for Hypermobile EDS?
If it is suspected that you have Hypermobile EDS, you may need to undergo regular scans such as an Echocardiogram. This will help to assess valve health. If damage is detected, it may be recommended that you undergo a valve replacement surgery. If there is a tear in the valve, you may require a repair surgery, rather than a replacement procedure.
In less severe cases of the condition, symptoms can be managed with a combination of lifestyle changes and medications. Physiotherapy can also help to ease the pain and improve mobility in the joints.
The symptoms of Hypermobile EDS differ between patients. For this reason, a personalised treatment plan will be developed to address your specific symptoms. If you have any concerns, book an appointment with Dr Konrad Grosser today.