Dysautonomia

I have dysautonomia. That means that my autonomic nervous system does not regulate properly. The autonomic nervous system controls everything in the body that you don't have to think about such as heart rate, blood pressure, circulation, temperature regulation, digestion, sensory perception, energy production, and more.  Because my autonomic nervous system does not function properly, all of these processes are impaired.  Basically, this leaves me very tired, weak, brain fogged, and sensitive to all sights and sounds.

The Doctor and His Patient by Jan Steen

Dysautonomia is an umbrella term used to describe a dysfunction of the autonomic nervous system. There are many different types of dysautonomia. One specific type of dysautonomia I have been diagnosed with is POTS (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome). People with POTS have a significantly elevated heart rate upon standing.

My body fails to adjust to gravity when I stand. When a healthy person stands up the veins in his legs constrict to send the blood back up to his heart and brain, but my veins do not constrict sufficiently to accomplish this. This causes blood to pool in my legs and abdomen, which reduces normal blood flow to my brain. My heart rate increases in an effort to keep my blood circulating properly.

Other symptoms of POTS patients can vary both in type and in severity. A few of the symptoms I have are: 
  • Tachycardia upon standing                                
  • Low blood pressure        
  • Shortness of breath                                          
  • Generalized weakness
  • Lightheadedness, Dizziness                                
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Headaches                                                      
  • Blood pooling in limbs
  • Fainting/near fainting                                        
  • Numb/tingling fingers                                      
  • Nausea
  • Sleep disorders
  • Cognitive difficulties                                         
  • Weight loss and weight gain
  • Intolerance to heat  

There is no cure for dysautonomia, but there are treatments available to help keep some symptoms under control.  Every patient responds differently to the medications, so it can take some time to find the right combination of meds for an individual.  If and when a dysautonomia patient finds a good combination of meds, it may improve symptoms greatly or only offer slight relief.

Here are a few of my blog posts that share about dysautonomia and how it affects me on a daily basis.
  

A Bad Day
  
  

If you would like to know more about dysautonomia, the Dysautonomia Information Network is an excellent source of information.

The painting above was first introduced to me by Dr. Blair Grubb. It is titled The Doctor and His Patient and was painted by Jan Steen in the mid 1600's. This was during the Dutch Realism period when artists were starting to paint real life, and even sick people. My doctor believes that Jan Steen was painting someone with Joint Hypermobility Syndrome and POTS! If you look closely, you will see that the woman has fair skin, light hair, light eyes, and her body appears "loose", all of which is classic Hypermobility. Notice she also appears faint and tired.  The hand the doctor is using to take her pulse is her normal skin color. The hand that is in her lap is a bluish color, which happens when blood pools and doesn't circulate properly.  

6 comments:

with Lia Mack :) said...

so sad you have to deal with POTS...so happy I found your blog (as I do too).

"Add sugar to your lemons. At the very least, you'll have yummy lemonade!" ~ Lia Mack (www.LiaMack.com)

The Heart Of A Woman said...

You are an encouragement! You are one of God's chosen children and I am thankful for your obedience to blog and press on for the good of Christ even when it is tough.

Conscious Dreamer said...

Hi hope today is good for you. Your illness sounds very similar to fibromyalgia which I have so I completely understand how difficult it is. You have a lovely blog. I hope you continue to bring hope and joy to people who are suffering. All the best

Suzy said...

I have a friend with a different type of autonomic dysfunction. She is going to the Mayo Clinic in hopes of stopping her seizures. She also has a service dog. She has been dealing with this disease for years. Her name is Elise. Although she is 1/2 my age, I feel she is my kindred spirit. I'm dealing with Mixed Connective Tissue Disease, Chronic Migraine, Fibro.,Asthma and a host of other illness. Your site looks lovely by the way. May you have many good days and may God bless you.

catherine said...

I have it too! I love this illustration. Why does it make me feel any better that people have had this for centuries? I don't know. Maybe it further validates that it's not all in my head! I have a blog also-- www.fineyoungfauves.com

Lindsay said...

Hi! I found your blog through the invisible illness week website, and am so glad I did! I, too, have Dysautonomia and can relate to a lot of what you have written. I look forward to reading more!

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