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Dysautonomia is also known as autonomic dysfunction, meaning the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) doesn't function like it should. The ANS controls involuntary body functions (things your body does without thinking about it)...heart rate, breathing, swallowing, temperature regulation, blood pressure, digestion, bladder function, and more. When the ANS doesn't work properly, it can cause issues with some or all of these areas. Dysautonomia can be present from birth or develop at any age. It can vary in severity. Primary Dysautonomia is when it presents as its own disorder. Secondary Dysautonomia is when it happens in combination with other disorders, such as EDS.  For more information, click here.


Doctor Operating CT Scanner

Gastroparesis is the partial paralysis of the stomach due to damaged nerves (typically the vagus nerve) and muscles that don’t function within their normal strength.  This causes slowing of the movement of contents through your digestive system.  Gastroparesis is often very painful.  It can lead to blockages, issues with glucose levels quickly rising when food suddenly enters the intestines after being stuck in the stomach for long periods, dehydration, and malnutrition as nutrients are poorly absorbed.  For more information about Gastroparesis, please click here.  


Stomach Ache

Mast cells live in the body and produce an immune or anaphylactic  response by releasing histamine in response to a perceived allergic attack. It can cause tremendous suffering and disability.  An individual with MCAD often experiences repeated episodes of anaphylaxis (of varying severity) that can affect different organ systems in the body. These include:

  • Heart related symptoms: rapid pulse, low blood pressure, passing out

  • Skin related symptoms: itching, hives, swelling, red skin

  • Lung related symptoms: throat swelling, wheezing, shortness of breath, harsh noise when breathing

  • Gastrointestinal tract symptoms: diarrhea, nausea with vomiting, crampy abdominal pain

For more information, click here.

Mast Cell Activation Disorder (MCAD)

Chiari Malformation (pronounced kee-ar-ee)

Chiari Malformation is when the cerebellum (the part of the brain that controls coordination and muscle movement) pushes down through the hole in the bottom of the skull (also known as the foramen magnum).  That space is only large enough for the spinal cord to pass through. 

Some people with Chiari I malformation never have any symptoms. If symptoms do happen, they usually don't show up until late childhood or the teen years.

Signs and symptoms can include:

  • headache (especially after sneezing, coughing, or straining) 

  • balance problems

  • neck pain

  • dizziness

  • vision problems

  • poor hand coordination

  • numbness and tingling of the hands and feet

  • change in bladder (pee) or bowel (poop) habits

  • trouble swallowing

  • hoarseness

People with Chiari I malformation can also have:

  • a syringomyelia (a fluid-filled space within the spinal cord)

  • hydrocephalus (a buildup of spinal fluid in the spaces deep within the brain)

  • sleep apnea: periods when breathing stops during sleep

  • scoliosis: curvature of the spine

For more information, click here.


Blood pressure reader

Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS)

Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS) is a condition that affects circulation (blood flow). It involves the autonomic nervous system (which automatically controls and regulates vital bodily functions) and sympathetic nervous system (which activates the fight or flight response).  

POTS is a form of orthostatic intolerance, meaning its symptoms are triggered by standing up from a reclining position, and they may be relieved by sitting or lying back down. The primary symptom of an orthostatic intolerance is lightheadedness, fainting and an uncomfortable, rapid increase in heartbeat.  Heart rate and blood pressure work together to keep the blood flowing at a healthy pace, no matter what position the body is in. People with POTS can't coordinate the balancing act of blood vessel squeeze and heart rate response. This means the blood pressure can't be kept steady and stable.

POTS symptoms can be uncomfortable and frightening experiences. Symptoms may include:

  • High blood pressure/low blood pressure

  • High/low heart rate; racing heart rate

  • Chest pain

  • Dizziness/lightheadedness especially in standing up, prolonged standing in one position, or long walks

  • Fainting or near-fainting

  • Exhaustion/fatigue.

  • Abdominal pain and bloating, nausea

  • Temperature deregulation (hot or cold)

  • Nervous, jittery feeling

  • Forgetfulness and trouble focusing (brain fog)

  • Blurred vision

  • Headaches and body pain/aches (may feel flu-like); neck pain

  • Insomnia and frequent awakenings from sleep, chest pain and racing heart rate during sleep, excessive sweating

  • Shakiness/tremors especially with adrenaline surges

  • Discoloration of feet and hands

  • Exercise intolerance

  • Excessive or lack of sweating

  • Diarrhea and/or constipation

For more information, click here.


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