Dysautonomia

Dysautonomia occurs when there’s a malfunction in the autonomic nervous system (ANS). That’s the part of the nervous system that controls heart rate, blood pressure, digestion and other automatic processes in the body. In other words, things you do without having to think about them.

Overview

Symptoms

Doctors can’t always pinpoint what causes dysautonomia. Sometimes it develops after a trauma or a virus. It may also happen to adolescents after a growth spurt. It’s more common in women, but people of all ages can develop the condition.

Dysautonomia can be a mild temporary condition or a serious long-term illness. The most common symptom is being unable to stand up without feeling dizzy or fainting. Doctors call this orthostatic hypotension. 

Other dysautonomia symptoms include:

  • Abnormally fast or slow heart rate
  • Anxiety
  • Excessive sweating or not being able to sweat
  • Fatigue
  • Feeling short of breath (especially when you exercise)
  • Feeling thirsty all the time
  • Having trouble swallowing
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea and diarrhea
  • Vision problems (blurred vision, vision loss, tunnel vision)

Diagnosis

To diagnose dysautonomia, your doctor will discuss your symptoms, perform a physical exam and may order tests, including diagnostic tests, blood tests and nerve or muscle biopsies.

Find a Specialist

Our search tool can help you find the right neuroscience specialist.

Treatment Options

If you have dysautonomia, we’ll work with you on a dysautonomia treatment plan tailored to your needs. This may include lifestyle changes, medication, integrative medicine, physical therapy or surgery. We take a team approach, so you’ll have specialists skilled in the areas you need help with, whether dysautonomia is affecting your heart, digestion, brain, vision or another part of your body. We also partner with the Aurora Research Institute to offer you advanced, effective treatments.

The Dysautonomia Center at Aurora Medical Center in Grafton provides:

  • Education
  • Genetics counseling  
  • Integrative medicine 
  • Nutrition counseling
  • Psychiatric support
  • Physical therapy

Patient Story

Living with Dysautonomia

Hear how patient Shannon Broaddrick finally received a correct diagnosis and how her doctor, Rose Dotson, is helping her manage her condition. 

Find a Specialist

Our search tool can help you find the right neuroscience specialist.

Get a Second  Opinion

Knowing all your options can make life's toughest decisions a little easier.

Your Life Your Health

myAurora makes it easy to manage your care online, anytime.