Diet and Exercise
As vascular EDS patients we can modify our lifestyle in order to minimize injury and risk of blood vessel or organ rupture. Our goal is to avoid any activities that are likely to put us at risk of adverse events. Most activities of daily living are not affected by vEDS(1).
Activities to avoid:
It is recommended to avoid collision sports and isometric activities(1). Activities with rapid acceleration/deceleration are discouraged as they may increase the risk of blood vessel dissection (tears)(1).
Examples of sports to avoid include: Football, rugby, water polo, mountain biking, etc. The two concerns with ‘high level’ sports activities are that trauma from collisions can lead to rupture of blood vessels, and that the rapid and repeated increases in blood pressure can compromise normal blood vessel structure, setting patients up for dissection (tears) or rupture of blood vessels(1).
Heavy weight lifting should be avoided. This is true not only as a form of exercise, but also in daily life. Do NOT strain to lift excessively heavy objects.
Encouraged forms of exercise
Mild to moderate exercise is encouraged in vEDS patients. Forms of encouraged aerobic exercise include swimming, elliptical trainers and stationary bike. Running on well cushioned treadmills can be considered, but running on hard surfaces or for long distances can potentially worsen pain in the feet, ankles, knees and hips(1).
There are no currently accepted specific limits on the extent of activity. General recommendations for ‘mild to moderate’ exercise include being able to converse with a partner during activity (you are not too winded to do this) and good breath control while lifting(1).
Patients may lift light weights to retain tone and strength—but again, lifting heavy weights should be avoided(1). A patients weight limits depend not only on an individual's previous strength and fitness, but additionally their history of joint pain, hypermobility and dislocations(1).