Doctors explain singer's rare autoimmune disorder and genetic syndrome originally appeared on goodmorningamerica.com
Pop singer Sia recently revealed in an emotional tweet that she suffers from chronic pain due to a rare disorder that affects just one in 5,000 people worldwide.
"Hey, I'm suffering with chronic pain, a neurological disease, ehlers danlos and I just wanted to say to those of you suffering from pain, whether physical or emotional, I love you, keep going," she wrote. "Life is f------ hard. Pain is demoralizing, and you're not alone."
ABC News chief medical correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton weighed in on the star's medical issues and explained the symptoms and what this reveals for others who suffer from chronic illness.
"The important thing is that it brings attention to two health conditions that affect a lot of people -- and this really helps them socially and emotionally," she said.
What is Graves' disease?
Graves Disease is an autoimmune disorder that causes the overproduction of thyroid hormone and affects about one in 200 people.
Symptoms can include weight loss, heat intolerance, sweating or insomnia.
The disease can cause fatigue, difficulty sleeping, irritability, weight loss and bulging eyes, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Just to clarify, I have a neurological disease AND ehlers danlos. EDS isn't a neurological disease.— sia (@Sia) October 7, 2019
😍 sorry for the confusion.
What is Ehlers-Danlos syndrome?
Ehlers-Danlos syndrome is a genetic syndrome and connective tissue disorder that can affect bones, skin, joints and blood vessel walls.
Most people with the disorder have overly flexible joints and fragile skin.
Dr. Ashton said that Ehlers-Danlos syndrome "could be as rare as one in 5,000 to one in 20,000."
How to manage several medical issues
To manage a diagnosis appropriately, Dr. Ashton said it can be helpful to look for areas that overlap, like a Venn diagram.
In this way, Ashton said, you approach the medical issues holistically and treat the whole person rather than a body part or a diagnosis.
She added that sometimes it can be difficult to make a diagnosis when a person already has multiple conditions.
Are there other aspects of the conditions to consider?
The emotional and psychological aspects of any condition are as important as the physical ones.
How to manage chronic pain
While there are more options than ever, Ashton said its about finding what works best for the individual and finding something with low risk and high benefits.
Some choices in managing chronic pain are cognitive behavioral therapy, acupuncture, medication and hypnosis.