Most people in New York probably haven’t heard of Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. That may be because EDS exhibits symptoms that are similar to other, more common disorders. In fact, those with EDS are often misdiagnosed with a variety of conditions such as chronic fatigue syndrome, depression, irritable bowel syndrome, arthritis and even hypochondria. The average EDS patient receives an accurate diagnosis 20 years after they begin to show symptoms.

EDS is a connective tissue disorder that affects the way a patient’s body makes collagen. Making up 30 percent of the body, collagen is a vital part of the bones, skin, blood vessels, muscles, brain, tendons and cartilage. When EDS alters a person’s collagen production, the person may experience symptoms in all different parts of their body. The apparent randomness of the symptoms is part of the reason why EDS is so difficult to diagnose.

Because EDS is a heritable genetic disorder, patients usually must visit a geneticist or an EDS specialist to be diagnosed. Some of the most common symptoms include skin that bruises easily, skin that doesn’t heal well and overly flexible joints. Though data shows that EDS affects one in about 2,000 to 5,000 people, some experts argue that it is more common than that because many people lack a proper diagnosis.

Some patients with EDS have been told that they have other health conditions that require prescription medications and other treatments. If a misdiagnosed patient is given improper treatments, they could get much sicker. After a patient determines that they have been misdiagnosed, an attorney could help them file a medical malpractice claim.