Dysautonomia is a group of conditions caused by autonomic nervous system (ANS) malfunction. The ANS regulates automatic functions, including heart rate, blood pressure, dilation and constriction of pupils, bowel and bladder function, and temperature regulation.
Symptoms vary widely from person to person and can include exercise intolerance, fatigue, headaches, bloating, nausea, heart palpitations, difficulty staying awake, and even fainting episodes.
Dysautonomia (pronounced “DIS-auto-NO-mia”) is an umbrella term for autonomic nervous system disorders. This part of the nervous system regulates the body’s automatic functions, like heart rate, blood pressure, digestion, excretion, sweating, pupil dilation, temperature regulation, and circulation. When the ANS fails, some symptoms can range from mild to debilitating.
Depending on the specific condition diagnosed, there are various treatment options. Your doctor will likely order some diagnostic tests to rule out organic issues with your heart or brain and may use a tilt table test to understand how the position of your head affects your symptoms.
Traditional medical treatments usually include medications that help regulate your heart rate and blood pressure, increase serotonin in the brain, encourage you to eat at regular times of the day, and promote fluid intake. A dysautonomia specialist Colorado takes a unique approach to treating dysautonomia by using the principle of neuroplasticity and applying treatments that activate your nervous system without using drugs.
The autonomic nervous system controls various functions, such as heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, and digestion. It is involuntary, which means you don’t consciously control it. Dysautonomia, also known as autonomic dysfunction or atypical autonomic neuropathy, refers to any disorder that involves the malfunction of these pathways. Dysautonomia can be present from birth or appear suddenly at any age. It can be caused by various conditions, including diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, autoimmune disorders, Ehlers-Danlos syndromes, and more.
One of the most common types of dysautonomia is postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS). It affects 1-3 million teenagers and is more prevalent in women. It’s characterized by a sudden decrease in blood pressure when standing up, which can cause dizziness and fainting. It can also cause fatigue, lightheadedness, bloating, GI issues, shaking, headaches, and exercise intolerance. These symptoms can be extremely distressing for patients and lead to depression and anxiety.
Dysautonomia is an umbrella term for disorders that affect the autonomic nervous system, a vast network of nerves that regulates involuntary functions like blood flow to the brain, heart rate, digestion, body temperature, perspiration, and pupil dilation. It is estimated to affect over 70 million people of all ages, genders, and races worldwide.
The condition may occur suddenly or develop gradually over time. Various factors, including infection such as Lyme disease or Epstein-Barr syndrome, genetic conditions, pregnancy, physical trauma, and diabetes, can cause it.
If you suffer from dysautonomia, working closely with your neurologist to manage your symptoms and improve your quality of life is important. The goal for most patients is not to return to full health but rather learn how to have more good days than bad. Your neurologist can help you with treatment plans such as medications, increased fluid and salt intake, and exercise. They can also refer you to specialists for acupuncture, massage therapy, and dietary changes.
Stress is a problem for everyone, but it can be especially hard to manage when you have a chronic condition like dysautonomia. That’s because chronic stress can cause or make symptoms worse.
Dysautonomia is a disorder of the autonomic nervous system (ANS), which controls automatic functions like blood pressure and heart rate, sweating, digestion, the dilation and constriction of the pupils of your eyes, and body temperature regulation. Those with a condition with dysautonomia, such as postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS), experience many symptoms, including fatigue, headaches, chest pains, anxiety, nausea, shaking, exercise intolerance, and temperature sensitivity.
These symptoms can be debilitating and impact a person’s quality of life. They can be difficult to understand, especially since they don’t show up in a lab test or on an imaging scan and are often “invisible” to others. This makes it hard to get a diagnosis and receive proper treatment. Medications and chemistry can’t address the root causes, and medical tests don’t always provide accurate information.