Dysautonomia, POTS, ANS Dysfunction
Dysautonomia is a general term used to describe a wide range of conditions that affect the autonomic nervous system (ANS). It’s estimated that 70 million people are affected worldwide, yet that number could be much greater due to it often being a subset of another condition. Dysautonomia involves an under/hypo active &/or over/hyper active imbalance between the sympathetic (fight or flight) &/or parasympathetic (rest & digest) nervous system. The ANS is involved in unconscious automatic control of primitive human vitals. Theses vitals include regulating heart rate, maintain blood pressure, temperature control, respiratory rate, sweating and much more!
There are more then 10 types of dysautonomias, all with varying symptoms. A primary dysautonomia is either inherited or due to a degenerative disease and secondary results from another condition or injury. Symptoms may include inability to stay upright, dizziness, vertigo, fainting, fast/slow heartbeat, chest pain, low/high blood pressure, gastrointestinal issues, nausea, visual issues, breathing difficulties, anxiety, fatigue, migraines, exercises intolerance and more.
When dealing with dysautonomia, a detailed and ANS focused exam must be performed. Depending on areas involved, in-depth analysis of heart rate, blood pressure, pupillary function and more will be observed. One example may be observing blood pressure on both sides of the patient while laying down, then seated and standing. Difference in these position can lead to knowledge of what positions a patients blood pressure regulation may fail. Heart rate is often observed in conjunction with blood pressure. This allows for the doctor and patients have quantitive findings to aid in the recovery.
The initial exam will reveal various situations and scenarios where ANS dysfunctions occurs. These scenarios will then be combated with specific brain based therapy to promote neuroplastic change of ANS regulatory centers. A patient may undergo tilt table therapy to locate the degree of a patient ANS failure, that same degree may be when therapies are performed.