What does Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome look like under a microscope?

Do you ever wonder what Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome or having “issues in your tissues,” actually looks like compared to normal connective tissue?  Maybe you wonder if the different types of EDS look the same under a microscope, or does each type really look different? If the each type of EDS does look different up close, what makes the things look different? Does it comes down to the type of connective tissue that is affected, or where that connective tissue is in your body?

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Yes, yes and all of the time…. that’s my answer anyway. I am a super detailed, über inquisitive and all things related to health and medicine geek.  My brain thinks on a cellular level .. literally.  That’s how I can understand my body, how things affect it (good and bad), and it provides me great motivation to keep making the healthiest choices possible.  It also provides a great way to understand what is really going on, but not everyone needs that much detail or learns the same way I do.  However, I think one of the most valuable resources someone can hone in order to find ways to effectively live with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, verses have EDS be this all-encompassing, scary and big unknown “of what else can it affect in the body,” is for each person diagnosed to have a crash-course in the biology (or the microbiology of EDS on a cellular level) & biokinectics of Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome.

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So, where do you start? And how do you get a crash-course in EDS?

First, start small because there’s so much to learn and it can be so overwhelming. For that reason, a simple picture can speak a thousand words and here’s a great one to start with (see image below):

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As described on Wikimedia.org by original contributor John Gohn, “The collagen fibril and EDS: (a) Normal collagen fibrils are of uniform size and spacing. Fibrils from a patient with dermatosparaxis (b) show dramatic alterations in fibril morphology with severe effects on tensile strength of connective tissues. Fibrils from a patient with classical EDS (c) may show composite fibrils (arrows). Fibrils from a TNX-deficient patient (d) are uniform in size and no composite fibrils are seen. TNX-null (e) fibrils are less densely packed and not as well aligned to neighboring fibrils.”

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As you can see by looking at the different of images of five types of Ehlers-Danlos, there is a distinct difference between how the connective tissue in someone with EDS varies from someone who does not, but also how each type of EDS varies from another.  This image obviously does not include all known types of EDS, including vascular and for that reason, I am putting together a follow-up post to this one that does include additional images.

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To learn more about the different types of Ehlers-Danlos, please click here.  And ….to stay updated on additional posts discussing the biology (and microbiology), as well as the biokinectics of Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, subscribe to receive website updates and notices on new blog posts.

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Additional resources on Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome: 

What is Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome?

– Signs and Symptoms of EDS

The Beighton Score

The Brighton Diagnostic Criteria 

My Butt is Flat! Why sitting too much cause chronic pain, muscle atrophy and problems moving around.

EDS on a cellular level and why it’s important to “Moving your DNA,”

Resources for new patients

EDS Awareness Resources and Downloads

Answers to Questions about exercise and EDS (3 post series)

I have EDS, now what?

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