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"What is hyperelasticity syndrome?"


My son is 8 years old and he loves to show off how stretchy his skin is - ridicuously stretchy! I found online that it's called hyperelasticity syndrome, which is great - but is it associated with other diseases? Can he hurt himself by stretching it? What should we know about this?


Stretchy skin can mean one of several things and all them warrant evaluation by a physician. Hyperelasticity syndrome is not a disease by itself but rather is a description of a spectrum of diseases including Ehleros-Danlos syndrome and Marfan's syndrome. Skin can become hyperelasatic for a variety of reasons.

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If a child is dehydrated, the skin can seem stretchier. Two genetic syndromes Marfan's and Ehleros-Danlos syndromes result in hyperextendible skin and very mobile joints. Specific to Marfan's syndrome syndrome is a tall stature, and a prominent bottom to the sternum. It is thought that Abraham Lincoln may have had Marfan's syndrome. Both Ehleros-Danlos and Marfans both carry risks of rupture of major arteries. Thus, they must be taken seriously and watched carefully by a qualified physician. I suggest that you schedule an appointment with your son's pediatrician and point out the stretchy skin because it is a part of the physical exam that is prone to being missed. Have the pediatrician check your son's joints and perform a detailed cardiac exam. If there are multiple positive finds, he may warrant some genetic testing to look for one of the hyperelasticity syndromes.

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