Dysautonomia is a medical term that describes a group of complex conditions that are caused by a malfunction of the autonomic system. Symptoms vary from mild to severe and can be debilatating and life changing.
The autonomic nervous system regulates all of the unconscious functions of our body, including the heart, stomach, endocrine system, brain, peripheral vascular and musculoskeletal systems.
Symptoms may include lightheadedness or dizziness, syncope or presyncope (near faint), blurred vision, generalized body weakness, shortness of breath, headache, nausea, excessive fatigue, palpitations, migraines, chest pain, diarrhea/constipation, vomiting, tremulousness, anxiety or panic attacks, bladder symptoms and hyperhidrosis.
Normally, the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system work together in a very efficient manner. The parasympathetic system controls the heart rate and blood pressure without our awareness and is a state of "rest and digest." From time to time, this system is disrupted in people with Dysautonomia. The heart rate and blood pressure (either alone or together) drop suddenly, reducing blood supply to the brain. The sympathetic system primes the body for action, also known as "flight or flight." The heart will increase cardiac output as it attempts to prevent fainting.