The autonomic nervous system is the part of the brain that regulates heart rate, blood pressure, temperature stability and other AUTOMATIC functions. Autonomic dysfunction is a common problem in mitochondrial disease and connective tissue disorders and can result in heart rate fluctuations, low blood pressure, easy flushing and overheating, cold hands and feet, purplish discoloration of extremities, migraines, and even G.I. dysmotility. Those of us who are leaders in the field believe that autonomic dysfunction is a cause of considerable problems for these patients. Although much of the treatment is aimed at the particular symptoms, extra fluids and some medications can help stabilize the underlying autonomic dysfunction. Specific therapy and treatment of your symptoms should be discussed with your provider if you have or believe you have signs of autonomic dysfunction. If they are unfamiliar with autonomic dysfunction in these diseases then seek a second opinion from a specialist who deals with this daily.
Fran Kendall, M.D.
This post is not meant to be a recommendation or a substitute for professional advice and services rendered by qualified doctors, allied medical personnel, and other professional services. The responsibility for any use of this information, or for proper medical treatment, rests with you.