Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS) is a group of genetic disorders that cause defects in the protein collagen. Collagen is a tough protein that gives structure to your connective tissue, skin, and many other tissues. It’s the
More research is needed to determine whether people with EDS develop shingles more often than people without EDS.
Keep reading to learn more about the potential connection between EDS and shingles and between EDS and other complications.
At this time, it’s not clear whether people with EDS develop shingles more often or at younger ages than people in the general population.
Shingles affects about
Some case studies suggest a potential link among hypermobile EDS, allergies, and immunodeficiency. Hypermobile EDS is often considered the least severe form of the condition. It’s characterized by joints that stretch farther than usual and hyperelastic skin.
It’s possible that current evidence is
In theory, factors such as poor wound healing and blood vessel dysfunction in people with EDS may suppress immune function, which can lead to the reactivation of the herpes zoster virus.
- people with cancer, especially leukemia and lymphoma
- people with HIV
- people who have received bone marrow or solid organ transplants
- people taking immunosuppressive medications such as chemotherapy or steroids
The severity of EDS varies from person to person and even among people with the same type of EDS. Here are some of the health complications some people with EDS experience.
Blood vessel or organ rupture
Blood vessel rupture and organ rupture are the two complications that
Vascular and organ ruptures are most common in the vascular and kyphoscoliotic subtypes of EDS. Vascular rupture can occur anywhere but most often happens in the chest or abdomen. Organ rupture most often occurs in the:
- sigmoid colon
Complications during childbirth
Connective tissue abnormalities can increase the risk of complications during childbirth. For example, fragile skin can increase the risk of severe bleeding. Serious vaginal or perineal ruptures may also be more common.
People with EDS are at an
Hypermobile EDS is generally considered a mild form of the condition. People with hypermobile EDS can develop many musculoskeletal problems, such as:
- hypermobile joints
- frequent joint dislocations
- degenerative joint disease
- chronic pain
EDS has no cure, but a doctor can help you manage your symptoms and prevent complications. It’s important to visit your doctor regularly to monitor your symptoms and voice any concerns you have.
The life span of people with the hypermobile and classic subtypes of EDS is not usually affected by the condition, but some types of EDS — like the vascular and kyphoscoliotic subtypes — present additional challenges that require careful monitoring.
People with vascular EDS are likely to experience a major vascular complication by
Sudden sharp painin people with EDS or suspected EDS requires emergency medical attention. Call 911 or your local emergency number or go to the nearest emergency room if you have sudden sharp pain or sudden onset of shortness of breath, which is a symptom of a collapsed lung.
Here are some common questions people have about EDS.
Does EDS weaken your immune system?
Skin and blood vessel complications of EDS may predispose you to problems with wound healing. This may make you more likely to develop skin infections.
Does EDS cause rashes or other skin problems?
Most complications of EDS affect the skin, muscles, bones, and blood vessels. People with EDS often have skin described as velvety. Skin may be fragile, and wounds may heal slowly. Scars may be thin and discolored and may stretch over time.
Rashes are less common but can potentially be a
Can EDS cause nerve damage?
Small nerve neuropathy, or damage to the small nerve fibers in your skin, is a
What other conditions are associated with EDS?
Sleep disturbance and obstructive sleep apnea are associated with EDS. The association is thought to be caused by
EDS is a group of conditions caused by defects in the protein collagen. It’s not clear whether people with EDS are at an increased risk of developing shingles. Some studies suggest that EDS can potentially weaken your immune system, which could theoretically make you more likely to develop shingles.
If you have EDS, it’s important to visit your doctor regularly to monitor your symptoms.