Dysautonomia is pronounced dis’-oughta-know’-me-uh. Over seventy million people throughout the world suffer with dysautonomia, a group of neurological illnesses. Disorders of the autonomic nerve system are often referred to as dysautonomia (dis-auto-NO-mia) (also known as the automatic nervous system). The autonomic nervous system is the division of the central nervous system responsible for controlling involuntary bodily processes. When the autonomic nervous system is dysfunctional, the resulting medical disorder is called dysautonomia. These disorders may be very mild or quite debilitating, and they often show up as abnormalities in many body systems. These include the cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, nervous, and pulmonary systems, among others.

About the Word

The word “dysautonomia” means dysfunction of the “autonomic nervous system.” In addition to controlling your heart rate, breathing, digestion, sleep patterns, and internal body temperature and perspiration, your autonomic nervous system is also responsible for controlling many other natural bodily functions.

Other conditions may also be the root of dysautonomia in certain patients. A dysfunctional autonomic nerve system is commonly the result of diseases including diabetes, Sjogren’s syndrome, celiac disease, MS, and Parkinson’s.

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A dysfunctional autonomic nerve system is the root cause of the many symptoms experienced by those with dysautonomia. Inadequate blood supply to the heart, brain, and other organs, chest discomfort, dizziness, fainting, nausea, rapid or sluggish gastrointestinal movement, blood pooling in the extremities, shivering, and excessive or involuntary sweating are some of the symptoms.

Some dysautonomia symptoms may be reduced by having the patient lie down, however this is not always the case. This helps get the blood flowing again to the heart and brain. Patients with dysautonomia may have trouble getting up and moving about because of this.

  • Extremely rare cases of mortality have been linked to dysautonomia, however the disorder may produce a wide range of symptoms.
  • Only a small percentage of people with dysautonomia are able to lead completely normal lives, including working, attending school, and socialising, even with the most cutting-edge treatment options now available.
  • Dysautonomia is a chronic condition, and some patients may see improvement over time, either as a consequence of better symptom management or as a result of real recovery from the underlying illness. Although some people with dysautonomia may experience a permanent continuation of their symptoms, others may experience a progressive worsening of their condition.

Many patients with dysautonomia go undiagnosed for years before receiving a diagnosis because most medical professionals have not been trained on how to diagnose and treat disorders of the autonomic nervous system. However, even once a diagnosis is made, it may be challenging for these people to locate a doctor willing to treat them.


Dysautonomia International is the leading nonprofit dedicated to improving the lives of people with dysautonomia via scientific discovery, medical education, public awareness, advocacy, and patient empowerment.