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Assessment for Hypermobility and Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome: A Comprehensive Guide

by | Jun 28, 2024 | Blog, Resources

Hypermobility and Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS) are conditions that can significantly impact daily life, particularly for students who might need extra time and adjustments for exams and activities. In this blog post, we will explore the assessment process for these conditions, provide insights on obtaining necessary documentation, and guide students in the UK on how to secure the support they need.

Understanding Hypermobility and Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome

Hypermobility refers to joints that move beyond the normal range expected for a given joint. While many people may be hypermobile without issues, some experience pain, fatigue, and other symptoms that can interfere with daily life.

Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS) is a group of connective tissue disorders characterised by joint hypermobility, skin hyperextensibility, and tissue fragility. There are several types of EDS, each with its own set of challenges and clinical presentations.

 

Importance of Assessment

 

Accurate assessment is crucial for managing hypermobility and EDS. It helps in:

– Confirming a diagnosis.

– Understanding the severity and type of the condition.

– Developing a management plan.

– Securing accommodations for school exams and activities.

 

Steps in the Assessment Process

 

1. Initial Consultation

The first step is to consult with a General Practitioner (GP). GPs are able to diagnose most presentations of hypermobility and EDS, but sometimes a referral to a specialist is needed if there is uncertainty over the diagnosis or there is a worry about another cause.

 

2. Examination

The doctor will conduct a thorough examination, which may include:

– Medical History: Reviewing personal and family medical history.

– Physical Examination: Checking joint hypermobility using the Beighton score and other relevant tests.

– Blood Tests: If the doctor is concerned your symptoms are caused by another condition.

 

3. Diagnostic Criteria

For hypermobility, the Beighton score is commonly used. This looks at the how extendable your little fingers, thumbs, elbows and knees are and also checks flexibility of your back. A high score indicates hypermobility. 

For EDS, diagnosis involves more detailed criteria such as a history of dislocated knees and shoulders and other joints, abnormal skin stretching and scarring and family history.

 

Obtaining a Letter for Exams and Accommodations

 

Students with hypermobility or EDS may need accommodations for exams, such as extra time, rest breaks, or alternative formats. Once diagnosis is confirmed, the doctor can provide you with a letter for this.

If you are worried you have hypermobility or Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome then book an appointment with one of doctors who can help diagnose.

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