Top 8 Hypermobility Comorbidities5 min read

I am entirely convinced that people with Hypermobility win the bad health lottery when it comes to comorbidities. The list of all the comorbidities related to Hypermobility is so long that sometimes it is difficult even to believe a body can go through that much.

Although it is hard to come to the understanding that your body is feeling all these secondary issues (AT THE SAME TIME!), knowing it is common and that it happens to a lot of us turns out to be comforting. The more we know, the faster we can learn how to handle the issue at hand.

Keep reading to check out 8 of the most common comorbidities associated with Hypermobility

Issues with the autonomic nervous system: POTS

The autonomic nervous system regulates almost all your involuntary actions, such as blood pressure and heart rhythm.

When there’s an issue with the autonomic nervous system - common in people with HSD -, orthostatic intolerance can develop. The symptoms related to this are palpitations, feeling “shaky” while standing, and feeling light-headed.

While standing, orthostatic intolerance includes visual changes, discomfort in the head or neck, the head’s throbbing, poor concentration, tiredness, weakness, and occasional fainting.

Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) is an increase in the heart rate greater than 30 bits per minute within 10 minutes of standing despite a lack of decline in blood pressure.

How can I handle it?

  • Increase salt in your diet.
  • Eat small meals.
  • Consider vitamin supplements.
  • Don’t forget to hydrate.
  • Stay away from alcohol.
  • Try not to bend at the waist.
  • Get up slowly.
  • While standing, move your legs.
  • Use compression.

Chronic fatigue

Fatigue becomes chronic when it has continued for more than six months. The type of chronic fatigue related to Hypermobility cannot be explained by ongoing exertion, and it’s not alleviated by rest.

People with Hypermobility have different causes for chronic fatigue, for example, sleep disturbances, chronic pain, being accustomed to inactivity, orthostatic intolerance, digestive issues, headaches, and more.

These all sum up and can create a severe case of chronic fatigue. So you are not just “lazy,” you are exhausted.

How can I handle it?

  • Make sure you have enough time to do the hardest tasks.
  • Exercise.
  • Watch what you eat.
  • Use a day planner to remember what you need to do.
  • Get help.

Autoimmunity

Hypermobility is related to something called autoimmune disease. This is where your antibodies proteins start attacking your own cells as if they were foreign.

This seems to have a connection with your gut and its permeability. The intestinal wall is lined with a semi-permeable layer of cells, which allows the absorption of the nutrients we need to stay alive.

In patients with HSD, there’s an excess of permeability in this layer, which allows many substances to come into the body when they shouldn’t. One of these is the undigested proteins, which are recognized by the body as invaders. This causes inflammation, allergies, or food intolerances.

Autoimmunity can happen in any part of the body, and it results in different symptoms.

How can I handle it?

  • Try to eat healthy and balanced.
  • Get regular physical activity, but don’t overdo it.
  • Rest as much as you need to.
  • Try to reduce stress in your life.

Sleep disorders

There is no conclusion on why people with Hypermobility tend to have sleep disorders. However, it seems to be related to disturbances in the autonomic nervous system.

We also experience chronic pain and fatigue, which makes it very difficult to get a restful sleep.

How can I handle it?

  • Make sure you are comfortable.
  • Check your sleeping position.
  • Treat sleep apnea.
  • If needed, consider medication.
  • Exercise.
  • Limit caffeine intake.

Skin issues

Skin signs are a vital clue when figuring out if someone has HSD. The symptoms may include stretchy skin, bruising very easily, abnormal scarring, and an abnormal number of stretch marks regardless of age.

This happens because the collagen proteins are not as tightly knit together as they should be.

How can I handle it?

  • Have a skincare routine.
  • Cover sharp edges around you with something soft.
  • Beware of your skin condition when undergoing surgery.
  • Be mindful of your surroundings to avoid bruising.

Bladder disorders

People with hypermobility tend to have bladder disorders, which are usually caused by changes in the anatomy of the bladder and pelvis.

It can also be caused neurologically by affecting the sympathetic nerve autonomic control of the bladder.

How can I handle it?

  • Drink the right amount of fluid: not too much, not too little.
  • Avoid bladder irritants.
  • Try bladder training.
  • Strengthen your pelvic floor.
  • Control contributing factors.

Teeth and gums

There seems to be a relation between Hypermobility and oral problems. These include pain, complicated tooth extractions, spontaneous tooth breakage, and gum disease.

This relationship is not very clear today; however, it seems to be related to constant jaw dislocations and easily damaged skin. It may also be related to bleeding or infection problems since wounds take more time to heal.

How can I handle it?

  • Stay away from sugary foods and drinks.
  • Remember to brush your teeth.
  • Don’t forget to use mouthwash.
  • Visit your dentist regularly.

Mast Cell Activation Disorder (MCAD)

There seems to be a relation between MCAD and Hypermobility. The cells of our body are surrounded by something called the Extracellular Matrix (ECM), which is made by structural materials such as collagen. Collagen plays an essential role in connective tissue.

Mast cells are activated by things that the body interprets as being harmful. These cells can stick to the EMC, which alters its behavior. As a connective tissue disorder, HSD could change the ECM enough to cause a change in MC behavior.

The most common symptoms of MCAD are itching, redness, skin damage, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and more.

How can I handle it?

  • Identify your triggers and avoid them (foods, chemicals, medications).
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Reduce stress.
  • Desensitization therapy can be considered.

In conclusion, there seems to be a significant relation between Hypermobility comorbidities and the autonomic nervous system. In the end, this system regulates most of our involuntary actions - our heartbeat, sleep, breathing, and much more.

Some issues pop up as secondary from the Hypermobility condition itself, the acting up of the collagen, or even secondary problems because of the joints dysfunction.

Maybe it would help to see these comorbidities as the results of a few common issues rather than an unrelated and endless list of illnesses. The more we talk about it, the more we have a chance to understand and move forward on these types of issues.

If you can identify any of these comorbidities in yourself, don’t hesitate to reach out to your doctor.

To a pain-controlled life,

Kate Skinner, PT.

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