Autonomic Conditions

Care for Nervous System Disorders

Board-certified neurologists at University Hospitals have the expertise and experience to diagnose and treat nervous system disorders and promote long-term wellness.

If you are diagnosed with an autonomic nervous system disorder, our knowledgeable team works together across disciplines within the UH system to develop a comprehensive and customized care plan.

Oftentimes, the first step is to treat the underlying disease causing the autonomic issue. Therefore, we work very closely with different specialists, depending on your unique condition, including:

  • Cardiologists
  • Endocrinologists

We also work to manage any symptoms you may be having, using the latest therapies and medications to help you achieve a positive quality of life.

Seeking Treatment for Autonomic Dysfunction

Your autonomic nervous system controls much of your involuntary bodily functions, such as:

  • Bladder function
  • Blood pressure
  • Body temperature
  • Bowel function
  • Digestion
  • Heart rate
  • Perspiration
  • Sensation

When your autonomic nervous system is functioning properly, you aren’t even aware of it. It acts as a go-between for the brain and other organs. An autonomic nervous system disorder occurs when the nerves in your autonomic nervous system are damaged. The severity can range from mild to quite serious. Sometimes conditions are temporary while others are more chronic.

The symptoms of an autonomic nervous system disorder vary by individual, but can include:

  • Digestive problems
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Inability to regulate heart rate during exercise
  • Sexual disfunction
  • Sweating too much or not enough
  • Urinary tract problems
  • Vision problems

Many of these symptoms are associated with other conditions as well, so if you or a loved one are experiencing any of these issues, it’s important to see a neurological specialist for an accurate diagnosis.

Using Technology for Autonomic Nervous System Disorders Treatment

At University Hospitals, our specialized team treats a variety of autonomic disorders, including:

  • Orthostatic hypotension: A form of low blood pressure that occurs when you stand up from sitting or lying down.
  • Syncope: The temporary loss of consciousness caused by a drop in blood pressure.
  • Small fiber neuropathies: A condition characterized by pain and numbness in the hands and feet due to damaged nerves.
  • Postural tachycardia syndrome (POTS): An increased heart rate with dizziness and fatigue upon standing up.
  • Multiple system atrophy: A progressive autonomic nervous system disorder that also affects movement.
  • Hyperhidrosis: Excessive sweating of the underarms, palms or soles of the feet caused by an underlying health issue.

While these conditions can occur on their own, it is more common that another disease contributed to the issues such as diabetes, Parkinson’s disease or some forms of cancer.

When a patient is referred to our neurology team with possible autonomic nervous system issues, we first conduct tests to pinpoint the problem and its underlying cause. Autonomic testing is noninvasive and involves examining the nerves that regulate bodily functions. UH offers four different autonomic diagnostic tests:

  • ANS (Autonomic) Screen looks at the nerves that control blood pressure, heart rate and sweat glands 
  • TST (Thermoregulatory Sweat Test) examines nerves that control sweat glands
  • The RSD (Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy/Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome) Screen is used to test the nerves that control, skin temperature, skin blood flow, limb volume, sweat glands, and muscle blood flow.
  • The QST (Quantitative Sensory Test) Screen is used to test the nerves that sense vibration, heat, and cooling. This screen has six different noninvasive components.

Learn More about Expert Care with our Nervous System Disorder Specialists

If you or someone you love is experiencing any of the symptoms associated with autonomic nervous system disorders, our neurological team is here to help. We offer specialized diagnosis and treatment of autonomic nervous system disorders at convenient locations across Northeast, Ohio.

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