One of my pet peeves about the use of the Zebra to represent EDS is that people often think that the Zebra stands for only EDS. But, technically, ‘Medical Zebras’ are any rare diseases that are commonly overlooked by doctors looking for ‘horses’. And, obviously, there are thousands of diseases that fall into this category. I feel that the Zebra has somehow been appropriated by EDSers, spurred on by major EDS charities, who fail to understand the historical background of the phrase and think all ‘zebras’ have EDS.
However, as can be seen in this list of Awareness Ribbons, diseases associated with Zebra pattern awareness ribbons, and zebra motif in general, are:
Carcinoid & Neuroendocrine tumor awarenessEhlers-Danlos Syndrome awareness
Rare Disease awareness
You wil notice from that list, the zebra motif is used for Rare Disease Awareness. The Rare Disease Awareness Network uses the zebra symbol to raise awareness of 6000+ rare diseases. Because EDS is not the only rare disease out there!
And so, along with raising awareness for EDS, I would urge us all to learn about and raise awareness of other rare diseases too. There are so many more zebras than just those with EDS. Hopefully by raising awareness of them, it will help people get diagnosed more quickly, as doctors learn to ‘think beyond the horse’!
And so ends my A to Z of EDS. I could easily have picked a different topic for each letter and still have some left over. I plan on doing it all again next year, hopefully without repeating too many of this year’s subjects. I hope you enjoyed reading them, and maybe they were even helpful.
Back to regular blogging tomorrow! And probably no mention of EDS for at least a few days!!
[ image of a white background, with the words ‘Z is for Zebra’ in black. Below the writing is an graphic of a zebra-print awareness ribbon. ]