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Friday, 24 May 2013

As part of EDS awareness month many of you have been doing your bit by creating videos and putting them up online to share with others. There have been so many contributions so it has been really hard shortlisting some of our favourites to share with you but here they are!

British TV Soap Opera - Coronation Street: 

Cherylee Houston who plays Izzie Armstrong in Coronation Street suffers with EDS so when the EDS UK had chance to go and meet the cast they wasted no time in showcasing their support for the cause.

Your Videos:

This is a song called 'The Cure' which was created by a young girl called Kitty Richardson about her struggle with EDS.

This is a video created by  Heather or 'Zebra Wheels' as she's known in the community about her life with EDS.

Our Video Contribution: 

Here is a short film that we created to help raise awareness about invisible conditions!

Here is how Natalia Carrasco is trying to raise awareness, she's creating daily EDS facts and posting them online for us all to share. Please see our previous blog post for more facts:

Friday, 17 May 2013

This week's post is dedicated to some of the main symptoms that people with EDS suffer with. 

Hypermobile joints

People with EDS typically have loose joints, which means the limbs bend more than usual. This can cause floppy joints in infancy, and some affected children take longer to sit, stand and walk.
Hypermobility EDS is the most common form. The joints can sometimes be very unstable and may dislocate easily.
In other forms of EDS (such as kyphoscoliotic and arthrochalasia EDS), the looseness of the joints tends to be more disabling and dislocations may happen frequently. Joint instability may occasionally lead to osteoarthritis, but this is uncommon and occurs mostly in adults.

Abnormal skin

In all forms of EDS the skin is stretchier than normal. It easily pulls away from the body and springs back once released (this is best tested at the neck, elbows or knees).
Bruising of the skin is common in most forms of EDS because small surface blood vessels may be fragile and break easily.
In classical EDS, skin can also be extremely fragile and can split easily, especially over the forehead, knees, shins and elbows. The scars can be wide and papery.
In the very rare dermatospraxis form of EDS, the skin is severely fragile, saggy and wrinkly. There may be obvious looseness of the facial skin.
In vascular EDS, the skin is often transparent, particularly over the chest, and the veins underneath are easily visible. People with other forms of EDS may also have slightly thinner skin than usual.

Fragile body tissues

Increased stretchiness and fragility of ligaments, tendons and joint tissues makes them prone to overstretching or even tearing (ligaments are tissues that connect bones together at a joint, and tendons connect bone to muscle). Therefore, limbs may be floppy because they are not properly supported.
In vascular EDS, certain body tissues and organs are particularly delicate. Blood vessels, bowel walls and lung linings may be easily torn, causing internal bleeding. Pregnancy in women with vascular EDS can be dangerous because the womb lining is fragile.  
Information taken from the NHS website.

Jodie is only 19 years old and has Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, Type 3 Hypermobility. However she wasn't diagnosed until she was 16 after numerous long stays in hospitals at Newcastle and London and multiple major operations. Life is not easy for Jodie or her family yet she still wishes to raise awareness for EDS as it is such a rare, cruel and debilitating disease that has seriously affected her in so many different ways. Jodie has been through so much but faces everything with a belief that she can make a difference and she is the epitome of courage in the face of adversity.

Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS) has drastically affected Jodie's life. Despite all that she has and continues to face, Jodie is a true fighter and always has a beautiful smile! Jodie feels passionately about helping others and hopes that by sharing her story with you, this will not only help to raise awareness of EDS but will also inspire you to support The Sick Children's Trust; a charity which has been there for Jodie's family during numerous long hospital stays. Please support Jodie's Journey and help us make a difference to unwell children and their families.

Information taken from the Jodie's Journey Website.


Here is how Natalia Carrasco is trying to raise awareness, she's creating daily EDS facts and posting them online for us all to share. Please see our previous blog post for more facts:

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Many EDS sufferers also have Fibromyalgia, this post is dedicated to helping to raise awareness about this condition as today is its National awareness day. A massive thank you to Bee Anne for collecting the information. If you'd like to find out more about Fibromyalgia or are interested to see how you can get involved please see the links at the end of the post.

A Simple Explanation of Fibromyalgia
Making Sense of a Complex Disorder,
For Those Who Don't Have It

By Adrienne Dellwo
Fibromyalgia is a complex condition that's difficult to understand, especially if you don't have a medical degree. Because it involves the brain and nervous system, fibromyalgia can have an impact on virtually every part of the body.
If you're trying to understand this condition in someone you know, it can be incredibly confusing. When a lot of people see a bizarre collection of fluctuating symptoms that don't show up in medical tests, they decide fibromyalgia must be a psychological problem. A host of scientific evidence, however, proves that it's a very real physical condition.
Digging through that scientific research doesn't help most of us, though. Terms like neurotransmitter dysregulation, nociceptors, cellular enzymes and opiate pathways aren't exactly easy to grasp.
The goal of this article is to help you understand and relate to what's going on in the body of someone with fibromyalgia, in plain terms and without medical jargon. At the end of each section, you'll find relevant medical terms with links to definitions. They'll be helpful if you want to go beyond a basic understanding, but you don't need to understand the terms to get through this article.

Understanding the Pain of Fibromyalgia
Imagine you're planning a party and expecting about 20 guests. Three or four friends told you they'd come early to help you out. But they don't show, and instead of 20 guests, you get 100. You're overwhelmed.
That's what's happening with pain signals in someone who has fibromyalgia. The cells send too many pain messages (party guests), up to five times as many as in a healthy person. That can turn mild pressure or even an itch into pain.
When those pain signals reach the brain, they're processed by something called serotonin. People with fibromyalgia, however, don't have enough serotonin (the friends who didn't show up to help), leaving the brain overwhelmed.
This is why people with fibromyalgia have pain in tissues that show no sign of damage. It's not imagined pain; it's misinterpreted sensation that the brain turns into actual pain.
Other substances in the patient's brain amplify a host of other signals -- essentially, "turning up the volume" of everything. That can include light, noise and odor on top of pain, and it can further overload the brain. This can lead to confusion, fear, anxiety and panic attacks.

Understanding the Ups & Downs of Fibromyalgia
Most people with a chronic illness are always sick. The effects on the body of cancer, a virus, or a degenerative disease are fairly constant. It's understandably confusing to see someone with fibromyalgia be unable to do something on Monday, yet perfectly capable of it on Wednesday.
Look at it this way: Everyone's hormones fluctuate, and even things like weight and blood pressure can rise and fall during the course of a day, week or month. All of the systems and substances in the body work that way, rising and falling in response to different situations.
Research shows conclusively that fibromyalgia involves abnormal levels of multiple hormones and other substances. Because those things all go up and down, sometimes one or more are in the normal zone and other times they're not. The more things that are out of the zone, the worse they'll feel.

Understanding Stress & Fibromyalgia
Some people think fibromyalgia patients are emotionally incapable of dealing with stress, because a stressful situation will generally make symptoms worse.
The important thing to understand is that we respond to stress both emotionally and physically. A physical response, in everyone, includes a rush of adrenaline and other hormones that help kick your body into overdrive so you can deal with what's happening.
People with fibromyalgia don't have enough of those hormones, which makes stress very hard on their bodies and can trigger symptoms.
Also, when we talk about "stress" we usually mean the emotional kind, which can come from your job, a busy schedule, or personal conflict. A lot of things actually cause physical stress, such as illness, lack of sleep, nutritional deficiencies and injuries. Physical stress can have the same effect as emotional stress.

Understanding the Fatigue of Fibromyalgia
Think of a time when you were not just tired, but really exhausted. Maybe you were up all night studying for a test. Maybe you were up multiple times to feed a baby or take care of a sick child. Maybe it was the flu or strep throat.
Imagine being exhausted like that all day while you're trying to work, take care of kids, clean the house, cook dinner, etc. For most people, one or two good night's sleep would take that feeling away.
With fibromyalgia, though, comes sleep disorders that make a good night's sleep a rarity. A person with fibromyalgia can have anywhere from one to all of the following sleep disorders:
Insomnia (difficulty getting to sleep or staying asleep)
Inability to reach or stay in a deep sleep
Sleep apnea (breathing disturbances that can wake the person repeatedly)
Restless leg syndrome (twitching, jerking limbs that make it hard to sleep)
Periodic limb movement disorder (rhythmic, involuntary muscle contractions that prevent deep sleep)

Fibromyalgia In a Nutshell
A lot of illnesses involve one part of the body, or one system. Fibromyalgia, however, involves the entire body and throws all kinds of things out of whack. As bizarre and confusing as the varied symptoms may be, they're tied to very real physical causes.
Fibromyalgia can take someone who is educated, ambitious, hardworking and tireless, and rob them of their ability to work, clean house, exercise, think clearly and ever feel awake or healthy.
It's NOT psychological "burn out" or depression.
It's NOT laziness.
It's NOT whining or malingering.
It IS the result of widespread dysfunction in the body and the brain that's hard to understand, difficult to treat, and, so far, impossible to cure.
The hardest thing for patients, however, is having to live with it. Having the support and understanding of people in their lives can make it a lot easier.
For more information about Fibromyalgia and how you can help raise awareness please visit the National Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain Association website.

Friday, 10 May 2013

Our first #EDSawarenessmonth blog post is dedicated to the different types of EDS that people have. Although some are more common forms than others and many have overlapping symptoms and this is how the different types are considered and defined.

  • Classical - the skin is stretchy, soft, fragile and elastic. The joints are loose and flexible.
  • Hypermobility - the joints are noticeably loose, flexible and sometimes painful, particularly after exercise. Unlike with other types of EDS, the skin is virtually normal, except for easy bruising.
  • Vascular - this is the most severe type, as it means organs and blood vessels can easily burst.
  • Kyphoscoliotic - the spine is severely curved in childhood. 
  • Arthrochalasia - this causes short stature, fragile skin and joints that easily dislocate.
  • Dermatospraxis - the skin is doughy and wrinkly, and tends to sag and fold. This type is exceptionally rare, probably affecting fewer than five patients in the UK. 
  • Periodontal - this form resembles classical EDS, but also causes very fragile gums.
Information taken from the NHS website.


I know what you're asking now...

How can I get involved in helping to raise awareness about EDS?

Well first of all why not visit the Ehlers Danlos Support UK website and download their Awareness Month fundraising pack for some ideas.

Or alternatively send us your EDS stories and tell us how you're raising awareness and we'll feature it in one of our future blog posts. Email: hideandseekid@hotmail.co.uk. Next weeks post shall feature Jodie's Journey.

Here is how Natalia Carrasco is doing her bit, she's creating daily EDS facts and posting them online for us all to share. Please see our previous blog post for the first five facts:

Finally, on May 12th we shall be posting a special blog post dedicated to Fibromyalgia, a condition that a lot of EDS sufferers also have, to show our support for Fibromyalgia International Awareness Day! 

Sunday, 5 May 2013

As May is EDS awareness Month every friday we will post a new blog post with updates about how people from across the world are helping to raise awareness! We'll hopefully be featuring all kinds of content from poems, to personal stories, events to images....

So if you're helping to raise awareness about EDS this month please what you're doing by sending us an email at hideandseekid@hotmail.co.uk

Also, Natalia Carrasco is helping to raise awareness by posting 31 facts about EDS for the 31 days in May. We'll be sharing these in all of our blog posts throughout the month. Here are the first 5!

Don't forget to subscribe to our future posts by selecting the subscribe option on the right hand side bar, follow us on twitter and like our Facebook page!

Oh, and our blog has now had over 30,000 hits so a massive thank you to all of you for your support in helping us to raise awareness about invisible conditions!