Medical researchers don't fully understand all the mechanisms involved, but people with a connective tissue disorder called hypermobility type Ehlers-Danlos syndrome tend to have dysautonomia as well, which often brings on syncope. If you or a family member was diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, there are a few important things you need to know.
Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome & Joint Problems
Simply put, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome is a genetic connective tissue disorder that results in ineffective collagen. Collagen has been described as the glue that keeps your skin and cells together. It's a protein that gives the cells in your body structure. Without collagen, cells could 'sag' and be unable to bounce back. Ineffective collagen results in the loss of the springy structural integrity of the affected cells.
Because of this, people who have any type of EDS tend to have problems with their joints, such as joint hypermobility and subluxations. As they become older and their joints more unstable, their joints are highly prone to dislocating, which can make life very challenging.
Dysautonomia & Syncope
Dysautonomia is the dysfunctioning of the autonomic nervous system, which includes all of the functions that your body does without thought. For some reason, people with EDS tend to have dysfunctioning autonomic nervous systems, especially their cardiovascular system, such as neurally mediated hypotension, postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, or orthostatic intolerance, all of which cause fainting. For someone with joints that subluxate or dislocate easily, fainting can be dangerous.
Prevention of Both
The syncope and other dysautonomia issues need to be controlled so you don't faint when standing up or walking. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to help keep you from fainting so often, including drinking more water, increasing your salt intake, and wearing knee-high compression socks. The good news is that compression socks can also provide you with the additional support your already fragile joints and tendons need to help reduce your risks of subluxations and dislocations.
However, if your joints are extremely fragile already, you will need help in putting on the compression socks or you could easily subluxate or dislocate a wrist or knee while putting the socks on. You can get the help you need by using what is called a stocking donner. This device holds and stretches the socks for you just enough for you to easily slip your feet and legs into the socks and roll them up.
Speak with a medical equipment provider for more information about compression socks and donners.