Autonomic dysfunction anybody?

Hi guys,

I was just wondering if anyone had been tested for autonomic dysfunction, and if they have, could they tell me what was involved and were they offered any treatment?

Mant thanks,


Hi Mags,

The Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) is that bit of the whole nervous system that controls all the things that you don’t have to think about doing:
Blood pressure
Heart rate
Breathing rate
Food going down after you have swallowed it
Sweating or shivering (as temperature control)
and so on …

In theory, you cannot condition an ANS response, but it can be done to a very limited extent to heart and breathing rate.
ANS dysfunction means that some bits of the ANS do not work the way that they should.
This could be the problem with neuro-transmitter chemicals that seem to be the cause of Parkinsons Disease
It could also be what shows up after a “stress treadmill” test, where the speed (or lack of speed) with which the heartrate returns to normal after intense exercise.

Exactly which bits of the ANS are tested will depend very much on the tester and the person doing the test.
If it’s being suggested for you, it is probably to eliminate something as a possible cause for an observed symptom (and you may not even be aware of that symptom, or may just have mentioned it in passing.



Hi Geoff,

Oh dear, it’s more complicated than I thought…

Unfortunately, apart from fatigue, it’s what causes me the most problems and I hoped there’d be some kind of treatment. I can’t remain vertical for long because of postual hypotension, react badly to exercise and my temerature is all over the place. The balance clinic recommended to my neuro that I was tested for it and I’m waiting for my MS nurse to have a word with him as that was some time ago.

Thank you for your reply anyway, guess I’ll just have to wait and see.


Well, there you go , Mags

It’s the hypotension what done it,

And seriously, it sounds like your blood pressure drops a touch too far when you are standing.
There is a slight problem with this in that the blood pressure “safe” limits have been revised downward several times in the last couple of decades. My Diastolic pressure (thats the “under” number) is currently right on the bottom limit, but at a recent cardiac checkup, the nurse said “Allowing for the medication you are on, it does not look like a problem if you do not have dizzy spells”.

The “Balance clinic” sounds like the “Falls” clinic in my area. They got a neurologist involved wih my wife’s case - and that ended up as a Dx of Parkinsons. If you have low blood pressure and temperature that is too variable, that would be enough to warrant a check. At least they are on the ball.


Thanks again Geoff and I’m sorry about Mrs Geoff’s dx.

Hopefully the nurse will give neuro a ‘punt’ in the right direction (again).