We may have missed Dysautonomia Awareness Month by a few days (October is considered to be the month when autonomic dysfunction is in the spotlight, with postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (PoTS) given a day of its own, this year 25th October), but there can never be a bad time to highlight this umbrella term for a number of conditions affecting the autonomic nervous system.
Symptoms range in severity from mild and manageable to debilitating and life-altering. Autonomic dysfunction is also strongly associated with other conditions such as Joint Hypermobility Syndrome (JHS) and hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos (hEDS, previously known as Ehlers-Danlos type 3), leading to involvement from many different types of specialist to help manage the range of symptoms that an individual may experience. Each person’s experience is different, but common symptoms from this constellation of conditions include low blood pressure, a fast heart rate, chest pain, brain fog, problems with digestion, urinary issues and temperature sensitivity.
Dysautonomia is predominantly a “hidden disability” thought to affect around 70 million people worldwide. To find out more about it, there are some excellent websites offering education, help and support to sufferers and their loved ones, such as PoTS UK, Ehlers-Danlos Support UK, and the Hypermobility Syndromes Association.