Dysautonomia: Unraveling The Mystery Of The Autonomic Nervous System

Dysautonomia describes disorders of the autonomic nervous system (ANS). The ANS manages the body systems we don’t think about, like blood pressure, heart rate, digestion, and sweating.

The symptoms of dysautonomia vary widely from person to person. They affect the central and somatic nervous systems and a variety of organs.

Dysautonomia:  Autonomic Nervous System

Finding a Provider Who Understands Dysautonomia

Dysautonomia is when there’s a malfunction in your autonomic nervous system (ANS). This controls the things you do without thinking about, like heart rate, blood pressure, and digestion. Dysautonomia is characterized by problems with the sympathetic branch of your ANS, which controls your “fight-or-flight” mechanisms but can also include issues with the parasympathetic branch, which controls your body’s rest and digestion functions.

It can be difficult to diagnose dysautonomia, as symptoms can occur throughout the body and may not seem connected. In addition, an Integrated Brain Centers dysautonomia specialist Colorado may link your symptoms to whatever condition you’re diagnosed with and not recognize the underlying dysautonomia.

Diagnosing Dysautonomia

The symptoms of dysautonomia can be difficult to identify. They can include fainting or lightheadedness (especially when standing up), fast heart rate, narrow or pinpoint eye pupils, changes in bowel movements and bladder control, fatigue, low blood pressure, and excessive sweating.

Medical conditions or medications often trigger dysautonomia symptoms and may fluctuate over time. Dysautonomia can also be a side effect of some treatments, including surgery, radiation therapy, or cancer treatment and certain medications, like antidepressants, blood thinners, and steroids.

The diagnosis of dysautonomia is made based on your medical history, physical examination, and reported symptoms. A healthcare provider with experience with dysautonomia may recommend tests to assess positional changes in your blood pressure and heart rhythm, autonomic nervous system function, breathing, sweating, and urinary tract and digestive systems. They may also suggest dietary or exercise changes, such as adding salt to your diet or taking medications like fludrocortisone and midodrine to increase your blood volume and improve symptoms of orthostatic hypotension.

Managing Dysautonomia Symptoms

Dysautonomia is a term that describes a collection of symptoms caused by malfunctioning automatic functions controlled by the autonomic nervous system (ANS). These include things like heart rate, blood pressure, and digestion. Symptoms of dysautonomia are often subtle and not always easy to diagnose. Changes in hormones, stress, psychological anxiety, and certain foods can bring them on.

Symptoms can range from shaking and shivering to trouble breathing, feeling overheated or cold, having gastrointestinal issues or exercise intolerance, and having a resting heart rate that doesn’t change when you get active. Patients may also have trouble getting their blood flow to their brains or limbs, such as a condition called Raynaud’s syndrome, and experience frequent headaches or fatigue.

Depending on your dysautonomia, your doctor will prescribe medications to help reduce your symptoms. They may also recommend a regular schedule of follow-up visits so they can track your symptoms and how you respond to treatments.

Treating Dysautonomia

Dysautonomia symptoms can be challenging to diagnose, as the condition affects different parts of your body and can vary in severity among people. There are at least 15 types of dysautonomia, including neurocardiogenic syncope and postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS).

You may experience various symptoms, including fainting or passing out (syncope), dizziness, fatigue, muscle weakness, changes in blood pressure, sweating, a fast heart rate, bloating, and constipation. Symptoms can also change over time.

There is no cure for dysautonomia, but treatment can help improve your quality of life and reduce the number of episodes you have. Your healthcare team will likely prescribe medications that target your specific symptoms, such as fludrocortisone for fluid volume support or beta-blockers to regulate your heart rate. They may also recommend dietary and lifestyle changes to manage your symptoms. Most forms of dysautonomia do not directly affect your life expectancy, but some, such as multiple system atrophy, can cause severe and potentially life-shortening complications.

We are not doctors and this is in no way intended to be used as medical advice and we cannot be held responsible for your results. As with any product, service or supplement, use at your own risk. Always do your own research before using.

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