What is dysautonomia?

Briefly, dysautonomia is the medical term used to describe a malfunctioning autonomic nervous system (ANS). The autonomic nervous system controls "automatic" functions such as heart rate, blood pressure, digestion, sweating and others. For an introduction to the ANS, see this page on the Dysautonomia International website. Dysautonomias have many causes, including autoimmune. They are not fully understood. Sjogren’s patients are especially prone to dysautonomia, with symptoms ranging from mild to severe. 

Cardiovascular dysautonomias 

These impact heart rate and blood pressure. They often cause fatigue, along with many other symptoms. They are sometimes debilitating. There are many types; postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS) is probably the most common.

Finding a doctor who understands dysautonomia 

This can be difficult. If you are seeking care from a neurologist, cardiologist, or other doctor about possible or known dysautonomia, ask if they treat dysautonomia patients. If they don't, keep looking!  It can be helpful to ask for referrals from your local patient support group, or check out the list of doctors from Dysautonomia International. 



Patient Resources

Clinicians / Sharing with your Clinician

Journal article: concise intro to POTS You can print it out and share with your clinician.   



Dysautonomia International  Patient and Clinician education materials


Updated 2-14-21