Signs and Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of dysautonomia correspond to the subsequent dysfunction within the autonomic nervous system.

Symptoms can be widespread because the autonomic nervous system impacts many body systems.

As a result, individuals can often appear healthy even though they are not.

This lends to some dysautonomias being considered an “invisible condition” where it is difficult for others to see the autonomic dysfunction experienced by the individual.

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Each form of dysautonomia can have its own unique constellation of signs and symptoms.
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For example...

Some individuals have more localized autonomic dysfunction, while others have more systemic or full-body dysfunction.

Furthermore, comorbid conditions that commonly occur with dysautonomia can often have signs and symptoms that overlap. Symptoms can be long lasting, or they may occur more sporadically in “flares” of worsening symptoms with decreased symptoms in between.

 Symptoms of dysautonomia can include:
  • Abdominal pain
  • Anhidrosis (lack of sweating)
  • Anxiety
  • Blood pooling
  • Bradycardia (low heart rate)
  • Chest Pain
  • Coat-hanger pain (pain in the neck and shoulders)
  • Cognitive impairment (including brain fog)
  • Cold extremities 
  • Cold intolerance
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness/lightheadedness 
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Exercise intolerance
  • Fatigue
  • Flushing
  • Gastrointestinal upset
  • Headaches
  • Heat intolerance
  • Hyperhidrosis (increased sweating) 
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Hypotension (low blood pressure)
  • Lightheadedness
  • Livedo reticularis (reddish-blue skin discoloration)
  • Migraines
  • Muscle weakness
  • Nausea
  • Orthostatic intolerance 
  • Palpitations
  • Paresthesia (tingling or prickling)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sleep dysfunction
  • Syncope/Presyncope 
  • Tachycardia (elevated heart rate)
  • Temperature dysregulation
  • Tremulousness (internal shaking or tremor)
  • Urinary frequency/retention
  • Visual dysfunction (light sensitivity, blurred vision)
  • Vomiting

Reviewed by Medical Content Experts, 2021

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