Pradeep Chopra MD – Ehlers Danlos Syndrome
My area of interest has been in the management of complex chronic pain conditions. I don’t call it as ‘treating’ these conditions but more as ‘managing’ these conditions to allow patients to be functional and have a better quality of life. In medicine, we seldom ‘treat’ or ‘cure’ conditions. Physicians mostly manage these conditions. We don’t treat or cure insulin dependent diabetes mellitus or migraine headaches. At best, we manage them.
The human body is made up of cells, a bunch of these cells join hands and form connective tissue. Other substances go into making connective tissue also. In general, most of the human body is made up of cells working together to create connective tissue. Some examples of connective tissue are – ligaments, skin, muscle, tendons. Even blood is considered a connective tissue.
Before I go any further, I would like to point out that EDS is not a disease. It is another form of the human body. Much like there are tall people and short people, black-skinned and white skinned people, there are people with weak connective tissue as compared to those who do not. Certain medical conditions are more common in black skinned people such as sickle cell anemia or sarcoidosis. In the same way, people with weak connective tissue are more prone to certain medical conditions.
Ehlers Danlos Syndrome is heritable (that means it is genetic) condition. Patients with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (EDS) tend to have the weaker connective tissue. The connective tissue in patients without Ehlers Danlos Syndrome is stronger, does not stretch easily or break easily. In EDS, the connective tissue is weaker, it can stretch easily, and if pulled too much, it may stay stretched or even break. It is a common misconception that people (note: I prefer not calling them patients, as I said EDS is not a disease – it is a form of the human body) suffer from loose skin of joint dislocations only. Many other issues come into play in EDS. I will discuss them over time.