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What Are the Symptoms of Dysautonomia?

What Are the Symptoms of Dysautonomia?

Learn more about dysautonomia, a complicated disorder that impacts your body's automatic processes.

Imagine a ship being steered by a captain. The captain must make a variety of decisions every day to ensure that the ship sails smoothly, and the captain's choices are crucial to keeping the ship afloat and on track.

Your autonomic nervous system serves as a comparable captain for your body. This internal captain is in charge of several bodily processes that don't require your active participation, such as controlling your heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature.

However, these vital processes might go awry if your autonomic nervous system's smooth performance is interfered with. Here, dysautonomia and its many symptoms are relevant.


What is dysautonomia?

The term "dysautonomia" is a broad one that covers several distinct medical problems. Every ailment includes the autonomic nervous system failing.

The kind of symptoms you get are based on the area of your body that is impacted. Dysautonomia frequently impacts the cardiovascular system, but it can also impact the bladder, gastrointestinal system, and other systems.

Typical forms of dysautonomia include:

  • Multiple system atrophy (MSA), neurocardiogenic syncope (NCS), and postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS)

Although these many varieties may have certain symptoms in common, they also have distinctive characteristics that set them apart from one another.


Dysautonomia symptoms

Similar to the many forms of dysautonomia, the symptoms can vary greatly in nature and severity. While some people may only suffer minor symptoms, others may struggle with serious, permanently changing problems.

Typical signs may include:

  • lightheadedness
  • difficulty balancing
  • blurry vision
  • difficulty breathing
  • erectile dysfunction
  • migraine
  • weakness
  • irregular heart rate
  • difficulty exercising
  • difficulty swallowing
  • fainting
  • chest pain or palpitations
  • light or sound sensitivity
  • Changes in body temperature
  • mood shifts


What does a dysautonomia flare feel like?

It may appear that your symptoms have come back or gotten worse during a dysautonomia flare. Which sort of dysautonomia could have affects the precise symptoms you experience?

For those with POTS, for instance, a symptom flare may entail, among other things, symptoms of chest discomfort and shortness of breath.

On the other side, a flare-up of multiple system atrophy may cause you to lose control of your bladder and have trouble balancing.

Generally speaking, dysautonomia flare-ups can be terrifying, particularly when they are severe. In certain situations, they can have a considerable impact on your daily life and make simple chores more challenging.


Do dysautonomia symptoms come and go?

Dysautonomia symptoms can be intermittent, vanishing and reappearing suddenly. While sometimes they start even when you feel calm, some symptoms can appear at times of either mental or physical stress.

These symptoms might also range in intensity. While some may find their everyday lives interrupted by symptoms, you may just occasionally and mildly encounter them.

Depending on the precise form of dysautonomia at issue, there can also be certain triggers, such as postural changes or drugs.


What can be mistaken for dysautonomia?

Given the variety of symptoms, dysautonomia can be confused with several different conditions. The symptoms of dysautonomia and other ailments, including anxiety disorders and chronic fatigue syndrome, may be similar. Consequently, it may not always be easy to make a precise diagnosis.

The following are some conditions that may be confused for dysautonomia:

  • anaemia
  • cardiac arrhythmia
  • congestive heart failure
  • heart attack
  • hyperglycemia
  • dehydration
  • shock
  • eating disorders
  • diabetes insipidus

Dysautonomia can also come from another disorder, which is another possibility. This is referred to as secondary dysautonomia, and it can occasionally happen in illnesses like COVID-19, Parkinson's disease, and diabetes, to mention a few.


Treatment for dysautonomia

Dysautonomia is frequently treated using multiple modalities. Your quality of life will improve while symptoms are managed and consequences are avoided.

Treatment options include:

  • physical therapy
  • diet and exercise changes
  • medications and/or avoidance of certain medications

Dysautonomia life expectancy

While the symptoms of dysautonomia can considerably reduce your quality of life, the majority of them have no immediate impact on your life span.

It's important to realize that each kind of dysautonomia is distinct and that some, such as multiple system atrophy, can be more severe and can shorten life.

To choose the best course of action, regular advice and care from healthcare specialists are necessary.


In the disorder known as dysautonomia, the autonomic nervous system is dysfunctional. Since dysautonomia encompasses a wide variety of illnesses, including POTS and MSA, it is characterized by a broad spectrum of symptoms.

Living with dysautonomia can be challenging, but you can manage your symptoms more successfully with detailed knowledge of the disorder and a helpful healthcare team.

Recognize that you are not travelling alone. Don't be afraid to reach out and ask for the support you require; there are many groups and resources available to assist, such as the Dysautonomia Support Network.

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