The autonomic nervous system (ANS) is responsible for balancing the direction of various bodily functions such as body temperature regulation, blood pressure, pupil size, urinary function, digestion, sweating, and sexual function. Diseases of this functioning part of the body result in a complex group of noticeable and more modest clinical signs and symptoms linking multiple organ systems.
Overt clinical symptoms include abnormal sweating, orthostatic intolerance and syncope, incontinence, constipation and diarrhea, dry eyes and dry mouth, and sexual dysfunction. Nonetheless, autonomic nervous system dysfunction can also manifest in less clear symptoms like heat intolerance, difficulties with visual adjustment, and fatigue.
People afflicted from ailments of the autonomic nervous systems may experience:
- Abnormal sweating
- Skin color alterations
- Bloating or cramping following meals
- Bladder urgency or frequency
- Chest palpitations
- Unbalanced walking
- Fainting or light-headedness
For some individuals, these symptoms could be subtle and happen just now and then. For others, symptoms may take place more often and become more severe. It is crucial to alleviate other medical situations with similar symptoms like Parkinson’s disease or diabetes, before connecting them to autonomic difficulties.
Various ANS Tests
Testing the autonomic nervous system provides data concerning the nature and harshness of autonomic disorders. Sweat function, blood pressure, and heart rate are all measured. ANS testing is pain-free and non-invasive, and approved by the Food and Drug Administrative. Appointments normally last from 60-90 minutes; however, this will depend on the quantity of test administered.
Sweat test: This test consists of small plastic capsules that are fastened to the arms and legs. A machine stimulates the sweat glands and gauges sweat production. A mild burning or tingling sensation might occur in the area during the test.
Heart rate while deep breathing test: This test measures heart rate changes during deep breathing. You will be asked to breathe deeply and firmly at a speed of six-breaths guided by a shifting green light.
Valsalva test: This test will have you blow into a plastic tube for 15 seconds, strong enough to create a pressure of 40mm/Hg as specified in a timer that you will be asked to pay attention to. The tests gauge blood pressure and heart rate reaction to valsalva maneuver.
Tilt table test: After lying on a table for the initial segment of the test, you will be lifted to an upright position and fastened to the table to prevent any accidents. The test will gauge your pulse and blood pressure during different positions.
Treating ANS Disorders
Treatment can include physical therapy and medications, depending on the difficulty. Because every patient is unique, treatment is administered individually. For instance, to increase blood quantity, a patient may increase their salt and fluid intake. In addition, medications can be prescribed.
Beta-blocker medications might be utilized to calm the sympathetic nervous system and thwart an unusual rise in heart rate. In addition, physical therapy can be an important factor in caring for dizziness and blood pressure. Certain applications can be utilized to prevent or at least decrease these and additional symptoms. How autonomic nervous system disorders are treated depends upon the type of problem and may include medications as well as physical therapy techniques.
Yolanda Burress is a nurse who loves to do boxercise and zumba.