Autonomic Nervous System Disorders

Also called: Dysautonomia

Your autonomic nervous system is the part of your nervous system that controls involuntary actions, such as the beating of your heart and the widening or narrowing of your blood vessels. When something goes wrong in this system, it can cause serious problems, including

  • Blood pressure problems
  • Heart problems
  • Trouble with breathing and swallowing
  • Erectile dysfunction in men

Autonomic nervous system disorders can occur alone or as the result of another disease, such as Parkinson's disease, alcoholism and diabetes. Problems can affect either part of the system, as in complex regional pain syndromes, or all of the system. Some types are temporary, but many worsen over time. When they affect your breathing or heart function, these disorders can be life-threatening.

Some autonomic nervous system disorders get better when an underlying disease is treated. Often, however, there is no cure. In that case, the goal of treatment is to improve symptoms.

NIH: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

Symptoms of Autonomic Nervous System Disorders

The following features are indicative of Autonomic Nervous System Disorders:
  • orthostatic hypotension
  • weakness
  • low blood pressure
  • bradycardia
  • rapid heart rate
  • anxiety
  • insomnia
  • chronic fatigue
  • tunnel vision
  • exercise intolerance
  • brain fog
  • difficulty swallowing
  • bowel incontinence
  • blurry or double vision
  • urinary incontinence or urinary retention
  • constipation
  • anhidrosis
It is possible that Autonomic Nervous System Disorders shows no physical symptoms and still is present in a patient.

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Common Causes of Autonomic Nervous System Disorders

The following are the most common causes of Autonomic Nervous System Disorders:
  • lyme disease
  • parkinson disease
  • diabetes
  • multiple sclerosis
  • Guillain Barre syndrome
  • HIV and AIDS

Other Causes of Autonomic Nervous System Disorders

The following are the less common causes of Autonomic Nervous System Disorders:
  • amyloidosis
  • chronic fatigue syndrome
  • spinal cord injury
  • surgery or injury involving the nerves
  • Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome
  • paraneoplastic syndrome

Risk Factors for Autonomic Nervous System Disorders

The following factors may increase the likelihood of Autonomic Nervous System Disorders:
  • pneumonia
  • acute respiratory failure
  • sudden cardiopulmonary arrest

Prevention of Autonomic Nervous System Disorders

No, it is not possible to prevent Autonomic Nervous System Disorders.
  • family inheritance
  • degenerative neurologic disorder

Occurrence of Autonomic Nervous System Disorders

Number of Cases

The following are the number of Autonomic Nervous System Disorders cases seen each year worldwide:
  • Very common > 10 Million cases

Common Age Group

Autonomic Nervous System Disorders can occur at any age.

Common Gender

Autonomic Nervous System Disorders can occur in any gender.

Lab Tests and Procedures for Diagnosis of Autonomic Nervous System Disorders

The following lab tests and procedures are used to detect Autonomic Nervous System Disorders:
  • Quantitative Sudomotor Axon Reflex Test (QSART) Test - It works by quantitatively measuring the sweat volume
  • Thermoregulatory sweat test - Sweat secreted after raising body temperature by 1–1.4°C (but not above 38°C) is recorded

Doctor for Diagnosis of Autonomic Nervous System Disorders

Patients should visit the following specialists if they have symptoms of Autonomic Nervous System Disorders:
  • Dysautonomia Specialist

Complications of Autonomic Nervous System Disorders if untreated

Yes, Autonomic Nervous System Disorders causes complications if it is not treated. Below is the list of complications and problems that may arise if Autonomic Nervous System Disorders is left untreated:
  • pneumonia
  • acute respiratory failure
  • sudden cardiopulmonary arrest
  • can be fatal

Self-care for Autonomic Nervous System Disorders

The following self-care actions or lifestyle changes may help in the treatment or management of Autonomic Nervous System Disorders:
  • Have healthy diet: Includes dietary fiber and fluids into the food

Alternative Medicine for Treatment of Autonomic Nervous System Disorders

The following alternate medicine and therapies are known to help in the treatment or management of Autonomic Nervous System Disorders:
  • Intake of alpha-lipoic acid antioxidant: Helpful in slowing or reversing neuropathy
  • Acupuncture Therapy: Helps in the treatment of the autonomic neuropathy
  • Electrical nerve stimulation therapy: Helps to ease pain associated with diabetic neuropathy

Time for Treatment of Autonomic Nervous System Disorders

While time-period of treatment for each patient may vary, below is the typical time-period for Autonomic Nervous System Disorders to resolve if treated properly under an expert supervision:
  • In 3 - 6 months

Last updated date

This page was last updated on 2/04/2019.
This page provides information for Autonomic Nervous System Disorders.
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