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Brooke; they/she; Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, POTS, Disc Degeneration, etc

Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (EDS) is a genetic disorder that affects the connective tissues of the body. It is characterized by hypermobility of the joints, skin that is easily bruised and prone to tearing, and a propensity for scarring. Other symptoms may include chronic pain, gastrointestinal issues, and cardiovascular problems. It is extremely under researched and widely believed to only affect around 1 in 5,000 individuals worldwide, however recent studies have started to suggest that number may be much higher.

POTS is a blood circulation disorder that typically impacts female bodied people between the ages of 15-50. Some symptoms include lightheadedness and fainting (especially when standing up), fatigue, headache, brain fog, palpitations, and nausea. It's believed to impact between 1-3 million Americans. 

Disc degeneration is the gradual breakdown of the intervertebral discs in the spine. It can cause back pain, stiffness, reduced flexibility, and nerve root compression that results in radiating pain, numbness, or weakness. It's a common condition affecting up to 40% of people over 40 years old. 

When discussing this portrait the subject talked about a play they'd been in about the Radium Girls, and how they related to the feeling of degeneration experienced by the many women with uranium poisoning. They also mentioned venus fly traps which seemed to fit with this image of degeneration. They are depicted in their worst pain spots, and their finger braces are shown as well - a device that can be helpful for those with hypermobility.

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