“Blog about it!”
I’ve had several people in my life suggest this. Sure, I can write about it… I think. How do you start though? I can’t tell you how many hours I spent in college staring at an empty Microsoft Word document, waiting for the brilliant term paper I’d written in my head during dinner with my roommates to spill forth… And nothing. I’ve composed my first entry over and over in my head for days. Let me tell you, it was great! I was impressed. It was to the point, entertaining, touching, and informative all at once. The perfect blog bundle.
Dysautonomia. That’s why I’m here. The most helpful and reassuring information I’ve gathered about this condition has been from blogs and support groups. These patients know their stuff. If one person stumbles across this and finds it useful – then this blog will have served it’s purpose. Instead of jumping into my personal experiences right away, I plan to use this first post to simply educate – what good is a blog about Dysautonomia if you don’t even know what it is? Don’t worry, you’re in good company. Because… How do you even SAY it? “DysautoWHAT?!” has been the response from many medical professionals when I’ve timidly expressed, “Um, I think that’s maybe what I have?”
Now for some facts! Dysautonomia, also known as autonomic dysfunction, is an umbrella term that covers many different forms of autonomic nervous system malfunction. Your ANS is broken up into systems: the parasympathetic (“rest and digest”) and the sympathetic (“fight or flight”). The ANS is responsible for control of functions we generally don’t pay much attention to… Pupil dilation/constriction, heart rate, blood pressure, temperature regulation, digestion/metabolism, sweating, electrolyte balance, and more. Basically, every system in your body is affected by your ANS. Dysautonomia occurs when something goes wrong with this system – and if ANS dysfunction wasn’t complex enough, the things that can cause this dysfunction can make things even more so. Sometimes the cause is unknown and Dysautonomia is considered primary. Secondary causes seem to be endless but some examples are autoimmune diseases, infections, connective tissue disorders, hormone imbalances, and toxin exposure. There is currently no cure for Dysautonomia. There are treatments, medications, and lifestyle changes that can help with symptoms. For those with identified underlying causes, sometimes the treatment of those can alleviate or hopefully eliminate the problems caused by autonomic dysfunction.
My munchkins are getting restless and bouncing on mommy, begging for breakfast, so there it is – my maiden voyage into DysautoWHAT!? For more information (and a much better explanation than I could ever provide…) you can visit Dysautonomia International or Dysautonomia Information Network.
More to come on the different forms and my oh so exciting adventure!