Raising awareness and striving to be a voice for many is a never ending, most rewarding endeavor.
It’s also a privilege to be a non-traditional student at an institution that strives to maintain its stewardship of education that it is so well known for (Lyndon State College merged into Northern Vermont University-Lyndon as of 2018). This means as I pursue my own interests in academia, I have the tools and resources to promote education about and for Ehler’s Danlos Syndrome.
Below is my recent research project developed into a poster platform of information. You may click the graphics to view full size and you may scroll below to capture the full text of the reading, as well as view the sources used. Feel free to download, print, and share!
Interconnections of Eating Disorders and Ehlers Danlos Syndrome
Ehler’s Danlos Syndrome is a group of inherited disorders that affects the production of connective tissue, a vital part of the body that binds and supports muscles, organs, and tissue.
Why are eating disorders present within many EDS patients?
Living with little to no connective tissue production causes long term external and internal problems, making digestive complications more common and severe for people living with EDS. Patients have reported symptoms that go beyond normal discomfort such as delayed gastric emptying, irritable bowel syndrome, and functional dyspepsia (Brockway, 2016).
The Correlating Biological Impacts
Learning to live with a complicated and permanent connective tissue disorder is difficult. For EDS patients, challenging relationships present themselves due to frequent gastrointestinal problems. In short, further harm afflicts the human psyche when dietary intake causes certain reactions. However, these very examples have made way for science to study neurobiological foundations of eating disorders.
Did you know?
The top three vital organs for humans all work with digestion, blood regulation, and absorb nutrients while fighting bacteria. (Small and large intestines, kidneys, and spleen)
Not all eating disorders are influenced by media or culture.
90% of brain cells are glia: the vital communicators between the nervous and connective tissue systems.
The Correlating Psychological Impacts
Researchers have located parts of the brain that endure delayed or heightened stimuli. When looking directly at these regions, people with eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia have been found to have altered or abnormal signs. This suggests that some eating disorders can be caused from neurobiological wiring as opposed to media or cultural influences. Researcher Guido Frank, M.D., has dubbed these signs are ‘traits or scars,’ and uses them to detect abnormal or deteriorated regions of the brain. This helps better assess potential treatment for those living with eating disorders (Weir, 2016).
The Importance of Treatment
Receiving a diagnosis of Ehler’s Danlos Syndrome can often take years because of the multiple, complex symptoms, This delays necessary medical management needed for functional living. As a result, EDS patients endure and sometimes suffer years of medical neglect and disbelief, worsening their symptoms both physically and psychologically. Clinical research has shown this can be avoided and aided if early detection, multidisciplinary approaches, nutritional and dietary regulation are included in treating biological disorders (Aziz, et al, 2017).
Aziz, Q., Beckers, A. B., Farmer, A. D., Fikree, A., Keszhelyi, D., MAsclee, A., & Vork, L. (2017). Gastrointestinal disorders in joint hypermobility syndrome/Ehlers-Danlos syndrome hypermobility type: a review for the gastroentroenterologist. Neuraogastroenterology And Motility: The Official Journal of The European Gastrointestinal Motility Society, 29(8). Retrieved from doi:10.1111/nmo.13013
Brockway, L. (2016). Gastrointestinal problems in hypermobility Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and hypermobility spectrum disorders. Retrieved from https://www.ehlers-danlos.org/information/gastrointestinal-problems-in-hypermobile-ehlers-danlos-syndrome-and-hypermobility-spectrum-disorders
Weir, K. (2016). New insights on eating disorders. American Psychological Association, 47(4). Retrieved from https://www.apa.org/monitor/2016/04/eating-disorders.aspx