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Your autonomic nervous system plays a major role in your overall health, and it can also contribute to heart-rhythm disorders. With more than 20 years of experience, Van H. De Bruyn, MD, is an expert in cardiac and heart rhythm disorders at Heart Rhythm Associates LLC in Central Arkansas. If you’re in Little Rock or the surrounding area and have autonomic dysfunction, call Heart Rhythm Associates or schedule an appointment online today.
Autonomic dysfunction occurs if you suffer damage to nerves in your autonomic nervous system (ANS). Your ANS works to control your body functions that you don’t think about consciously, such as your heart and breathing rates, your body temperature, and your digestion.
When your ANS suffers damage, you experience autonomic neuropathy. These complications can vary from mild to life-threatening and affect a portion or your entire ANS.
If you have autonomic dysfunction, you can experience a wide range of symptoms, including:
You can also experience orthostatic hypotension directly associated with your blood pressure. This form of autonomic dysfunction causes your blood pressure to significantly drop when you stand.
When you have orthostatic hypotension, it’s common to experience palpitations, dizziness, and syncope (or fainting). You might also experience heart arrhythmias and be unable to regulate your heart rate during physical activities.
To diagnose autonomic dysfunction, Dr. De Bruyn conducts a full physical exam, discusses your symptoms, and reviews your medical history. He also works with his team to measure your blood pressure while you stand, lie down, and sit.
Dr. De Bruyn could also recommend additional tests, including:
Based on your results and symptoms, Dr. De Bruyn could also order a stress test to monitor your heart during activity.
Dr. De Bruyn develops a treatment for your autonomic dysfunction based on the cause of your condition. In many cases, you can’t reverse nerve damage to your autonomic nervous system, but Dr. De Bruyn’s expertise and advanced training as a cardiologist can help you manage your heart-related symptoms.
Treatments for autonomic dysfunction related to your blood pressure and heart might include:
Dr. De Bruyn might also recommend lifestyle changes to help you cope with the effects of your condition.
To learn more about autonomic dysfunction, call Heart Rhythm Associates or schedule an appointment online today.