Dysautonomia

The autonomic nervous system (ANS), or that part of the nervous system not under conscious control, is made up of the parasympathetic and sympathetic branches. In dysautonomia, the ANS does not respond to stimuli appropriately, with the two branches working synergistically. Dependent upon the individual, either the parasympathetic or sympathetic nervous system can be hyporesponsive or hyperresponsive. Dysautonomia is often more evident during periods of physiologic and psychological stress, and can either be primary or occur secondary to another medical condition. In those with mitochondrial dysautonomia, mitochondrial dysfunction is believed to cause to the dysautonomia.

Common Symptoms of Dysautomia

  • Abdominal pain
  • Aching neck and shoulders
  • Acid reflux
  • Bladder dysfunction, incontinence, frequent urination, urine retention
  • Blood pooling in legs or arms
  • Changes in pallor
  • Chest pains
  • Cognitive impairment, brain fog/forgetfulness, inability to concentrate, difficulty with recall
  • Decreased saliva production
  • Delayed gastric emptying, bloating after meals
  • Easily over-stimulated
  • Excessive fatigue, malaise
  • Excessive thirst
  • Exercise intolerance
  • Facial flushing
  • Fainting
  • Feeling detached from surroundings
  • Feelings of anxiety or panic (not mentally induced), tremulousness
  • Feeling “wired”
  • Food allergies/sensitivities (some foods seem to make symptoms worse)
  • Gastrointestinal problems, constipation, diarrhea
  • Headache, migraine
  • High blood pressure
  • Hyperreflexia or absent reflexes
  • Hypersensitivity to sensory stimulation
  • Hyperventilation
  • Irregular menstrual cycles
  • Lightheadedness, dizziness or vertigo
  • Loss of appetite, feeling full quickly
  • Low back pain
  • Low blood volume
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Mood swings
  • Muscle and/or joint pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Nerve pain
  • Noise or light sensitivity
  • Numbness or tingling
  • Orthostatic hypotension
  • Postprandial hypotension
  • Problems with temperature regulation; excessive or inadequate sweating, clamminess, chills, cold hands
  • Restless leg syndrome
  • Rapid or slow heart rate
  • Seizures
  • Sleep disorders/insomnia
  • Swollen nodules/lymph nodes
  • Trouble breathing, shortness of breath
  • Visual disturbances, pupillary dysfunction, blurred vision, tunnel vision
  • Weakness (generalized)
  • Weight loss or gain

Symptoms of dysautonomia can vary from day to day, and minute to minute. They are often invisible to others, but can be debilitating to those affected.