Being flexible is good. Many of us stretch, or practice yoga, so we are flexible and have control of our muscles. However, being too flexible can be a symptom of a serious medical condition. Ehlers Danlos Syndrome is characterized by hyper elasticity of the skin, or skin that stretches to abnormal lengths. It is also characterized by hyper flexibility of the joints and muscles, which can make for impossible stretching angles. But this is just more than super human stretching, it can be a life threatening condition in extreme cases.
Because collagen affects skin elasticity, you will notice it’s presence more by appearance. Collagen also affects other parts of the body, that are less noticeable but even more important. Joints, digestion, bones, and even the hearts functions can all be compromised by an abnormality in the collagen protein caused by Ehlers Danlos Syndrome. First described by two doctors, Ehlers from Denmark, and Danlos from France, cases are rare and vary in intensity. Some individuals, with advanced cases, must be monitored. Their digestion and heart functions can be affected by this condition, which makes it extremely dangerous. Because of the weakness in the bones, joints, and muscles, everything from the spine, to the feet can be affected. Often a patient of this condition will require the use of a wheel chair or leg braces. Less advanced forms of this condition can have less noticeable symptoms. Soft skin and flexible joints may be the most apparent.
This condition also has a variety of causes. Although a gene can be inherited, it can be triggered or accelerated by certain conditions. The symptoms include flat feet, osteoarthritis, heart defects, and blood vessels that are fragile. Although there is no cure for this condition, there are treatment options.
Collagen is present through out the body, and can affect many different functions and aspects. With no collagen, the skin cannot stretch, and loses all elasticity. Treatment for stretch marks must be sought if the skin is stretched with no elasticity. With age, collagen often depletes, which causes wrinkles and bagginess of the skin. The inability of the skin to “bounce back”, and the loss of suppleness, are also signs of collagen depletion. Ask your doctor about any symptoms you may be experiencing, and what types of treatments are available to you. Whether your skin is too elastic, or not enough, there are treatment options out there. Whether it is medications, supplements, or changes in diet, you can encourage healthy skin with your choices.