Blog Classic: Aug. 16, 2010
Not everyone with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome has problems with homeostasis, but most of us definitely do. That's because of abnormalities in our autonomic nervous system. A whole "family" of illnesses have this same problem, and they fall under the umbrella term "dysautonomia."
The autonomic nervous system is supposed to keep things running smoothly and in balance. It controls your heart rate, breathing, digestion, reactions to stress, temperature, balance, and sleep. By now you're probably thinking, "Yep, I've got problems with some (or all) of those things." I know I do.
The symptoms of autonomic dysfunction will likely look familiar to you as well (my thanks to Dr. Rich Fogoros, About.com Guide to Heart Disease, for this list):
- Aches and pains
- Anxiety attacks
- Blurred vision
- Digestive problems
- Dizziness, sometimes with fainting
- Low blood pressure (especially upon standing)
- Numbness and tingling
- Poor exercise tolerance
- Rapid heart rate
I've personally dealt with 11 of those 12 symptoms, and I hear stories about other people with them every day.
You can learn more about dysautonomia from Dr. Rich's site:
In those articles, he does state, "Most victims of dysautonomia eventually find that their symptoms either go away or abate to the point that they are able to lead nearly normal lives." While that may apply to many conditions under this umbrella, it's not typical of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. Please remember that he's talking about a wide range of illness and don't take offense at this statement!
There's no magical cure for dysautonomia, but understanding it can help you get a handle on what's going on in your body. It may also be a more helpful label for you to use, since our illnesses are so often misunderstood, maligned, and belittled.
Which dysautonomia symptoms do you have? How do you deal with them? Take the poll, and leave your comments below!
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