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Welcome to our site! Our mission is to provide you with information about autonomic nervous system disorders. We aim to educate and empower you to make informed decisions about your health. Visit our site to learn about causes, symptoms, treatments, and more. Thanks for reading!

Autonomic Nervous System Disorders

The autonomic nervous system (ANS) controls all of the automatic functions of the body, such as heart rate, blood pressure, digestion, and respiration.

Autonomic nervous system disorders can occur when there is a problem with the way the ANS functions. These disorders can be caused by a variety of conditions, including diabetes, certain types of cancer, and Parkinson’s disease.

Symptoms of autonomic nervous system disorders can vary depending on the specific condition. They may include lightheadedness, fainting, shortness of breath, and constipation.

Treatment for autonomic nervous system disorders will also vary depending on the underlying condition. In some cases, treatment may be as simple as managing the underlying condition. In other cases, more aggressive treatment may be necessary.

Causes

There are a variety of conditions that can cause autonomic nervous system disorders. These include:

  • Diabetes – Diabetes can damage the nerves, including the autonomic nerves. This can lead to autonomic nervous system disorders.
  • Certain types of cancer – Cancer can spread to the autonomic nerves and damage them. This can lead to autonomic nervous system disorders.
  • Parkinson’s disease – Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative disorder that can damage the autonomic nerves. This can lead to autonomic nervous system disorders.

Symptoms

The symptoms of autonomic nervous system disorders can vary depending on the underlying condition. However, some common symptoms include:

  • Lightheadedness – This can be a symptom of orthostatic hypotension, which is a drop in blood pressure when standing up.
  • Fainting – This can be a symptom of orthostatic hypotension, which is a drop in blood pressure when standing up.
  • Shortness of breath – This can be a symptom of autonomic dysreflexia, which is a condition that occurs when there is a problem with the autonomic nerves.
  • Constipation – This can be a symptom of autonomic neuropathy, which is a condition that occurs when the autonomic nerves are damaged.

Treatment

Treatment for autonomic nervous system disorders will vary depending on the underlying condition. In some cases, treatment may be as simple as managing the underlying condition. In other cases, more aggressive treatment may be necessary.

  • Managing the underlying condition – If the autonomic nervous system disorder is caused by an underlying condition, such as diabetes, treatment will focus on managing that condition. This may include taking medication, making lifestyle changes, and monitoring blood sugar levels.
  • Aggressive treatment – If the autonomic nervous system disorder is caused by a more serious condition, such as cancer, treatment will be more aggressive. This may include surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy.

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