What is Vascular Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (VEDS)?
VEDS is a rare, single-gene, autosomal dominant disease caused by mutations in the body’s COL3A1 gene, and is the most severe and life-threatening form of Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (EDS). The result is an impairment of the body’s normal formation of collagen, the glue that holds everything together, which causes weakening of the skin, organs, arteries, and blood vessels. Individuals with VEDS present with symptoms like easy bruising, thin skin and hypermobile joints that are prone to dislocation. One of six types of EDS, the vascular type in particular can very easily go undiagnosed because on a day to day basis, patients do not experience noticeable symptoms. Instead, the disease is episodic, revealing itself in spontaneous arterial or organ ruptures, making it extremely dangerous and deadly. Those who present with symptoms in a hospital setting, especially if they are experiencing abdominal pain, need to be treated immediately as trauma patients. Sadly, the average life expectancy for those who suffer with VEDS is a short fifty (50) years and there is currently no treatment and no cure. Patients are advised to avoid certain activities, such as contact sports, surgeries and pregnancies that put a great deal of stress on the body, and many are prescribed medication to lower their blood pressure in an effort to take some of the stress off of their blood vessels and arteries, but beyond these small precautionary measures, there is really nothing that can be done to stop the disease.