Dysautonomia

Dysautonomia is a general term to describe a variety of conditions related to dysfunction of the autonomic nervous system (ANS). It may be hyper-activity or under activity of either the sympathetic (fight or flight) or parasympathetic (rest and digest) system. The ANS is involved in the automatic control of primitive functions such as heart rate, blood pressure, temperature, respiration rate, sweating, and thousands of other functions that do not require our conscious control.

Did you know that there are two different types of Dysautonomia?

  • Primary Dysautonomia is usually inherited or due to a degenerative disease.
  • Secondary Dysautonomia is the result of another condition or injury.

TYPES OF DYSAUTONOMIA WE SEE


The Ehlers-Danlos syndromes are a group of connective tissue disorders that can be inherited and are varied both in how they affect the body and in their genetic causes. They are generally characterized by joint hyper-mobility (joints that stretch further than normal), skin hyper-extensibility (skin that can be stretched further than normal), and tissue fragility.

The Ehlers-Danlos syndromes (EDS) are currently classified into thirteen subtypes. Each EDS subtype has a set of clinical criteria that help guide diagnosis; a patient’s physical signs and symptoms will be matched up to the major and minor criteria to identify the subtype that is the most complete fit. There is substantial symptom overlap between the EDS subtypes and the other connective tissue disorders including hyper-mobility spectrum disorders, as well as a lot of variability, so a definitive diagnosis for all the EDS subtypes when the gene mutation is known—all but hyper-mobile EDS (hEDS)—also calls for confirmation by testing to identify the responsible variant for the gene affected in each subtype.

Symptoms of EDS

Joints – Joint hypermobility; loose/unstable joints which are prone to frequent dislocations and/or subluxations; joint pain; hyperextensible joints (they move beyond the joint’s normal range); early onset of osteoarthritis.

Skin – Soft velvety-like skin; variable skin hyper-extensibility; fragile skin that tears or bruises easily (bruising may be severe); severe scarring; slow and poor wound healing; development of molluscoid pseudo tumors (fleshy lesions associated with scars over pressure areas).


Lyme disease is a bacterial infection you get from the bite of an infected tick. Lyme disease can be hard to diagnose because many of its symptoms are like those of the flu and other diseases. And you may not have noticed a tick bite and lab tests may not always give a clear answer until you have been infected for at least a few weeks. Lyme disease can be hard to diagnose because many of its symptoms are like those of the flu and other diseases.

Although most cases of Lyme disease can be cured with a 2- to 4-week course of oral antibiotics, patients can sometimes develop Post-Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome (PTLDS) and have symptoms of pain, fatigue, or difficulty thinking that linger for more than 6 months after they finish treatment.

SYMPTOMS: The first symptom is usually a red rash, which may look like a bull’s eye. But not all people with Lyme disease have a rash. As the infection spreads to other parts of the body, you may have a fever, headache, body aches, a stiff neck


Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS) is a condition that affects circulation (blood flow). POTS is a form of orthostatic intolerance, the development of symptoms that come on when standing up from a reclining position, and that may be relieved by sitting or lying back down. The cause of POTS is poorly understood. However, episodes often begin after a pregnancy, major surgery, brain trauma, or a viral illness.

SYMPTOMS: lightheadedness, fainting, tachycardia, chest pains, shortness of breath, GI upset, shaking, exercise intolerance, temperature sensitivity and more.


Often times chronic migraine sufferers are also suffering from Dysautonomia. A migraine headache is a type of headache that tends to recur in an individual and causes moderate to severe pain. The pain is often described as throbbing or pulsing and usually begins on one side of the head. Migraine headaches are worsened by physical activity, light, sound, or physical movement. The pain typically last from 4 hours up to 3 days.

SYMPTOMS: Sensitivity to light, sound and even smell. He or she may also experience nausea and/or vomiting.


Chiari malformation is a condition in which brain tissue extends into your spinal canal. It occurs when part of your skull is abnormally small or misshapen, pressing on your brain and forcing it downward.

There are four types of Chiari malformations:

  • Type I. The most commonly observed type in children. In this type, the lower part of the cerebellum — but not the brain stem — extends into an opening at the base of the skull. Normally, only the spinal cord passes through this opening. Type I is the only type of Chiari malformation that can be acquired.
  • Type II. Also known as “classic” Chiari malformation or Arnold-Chiari malformation. This is usually only seen in children born with spina bifida. In type II Chiari malformation, both the cerebellum and the brain stem extend into the foramen magnum.
  • Type III. The most serious and rare form of Chiari malformation. It involves the protrusion or herniation of the cerebellum and brain stem through the foramen magnum and into the spinal cord. This usually causes severe neurological defects.
  • Type IV. This involves an incomplete or underdeveloped cerebellum. It sometimes is associated with exposed parts of the skull and spinal cord. Type IV is a rare type.

SYMPTOMS: neck pain, hearing or balance problems,muscle weakness or numbness, dizziness, difficulty swallowing or speaking, vomiting, ringing or buzzing in the ears (tinnitus), curvature of the spine (scoliosis), insomnia, depression, problems with hand coordination and fine motor skills.

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