Rita Thompson, NBC-HWC
Rita is a National Board and Mayo Clinic-certified Health and Wellness Coach
Many of my clients live with chronic health conditions, including Dysautonomia. Since October is Dysautonomia Awareness Month, let’s take a quick look at what Dysautonomia is, and how it impacts those who live with it.
Dysautonomia is the dysfunction of the autonomic nervous system that regulate nonvoluntary body functions (like heart rate, blood pressure, digestion, and sweating).
Firstly, I was diagnosed with Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) when I was about 25. POTS is one type of Dysautonomia, although there are many others. While living in New York City, it became more and more challenging for me to walk a few blocks down the street. I was extremely fatigued, nauseous, and losing my ability to physically move through the day.
I was lucky to be diagnosed within a few months. The average time it takes someone with Dysautonomia to be diagnosed is about 6 years.
Other conditions that fall under the Dysautonomia umbrella include: Orthostatic Hypotension, Vasovagal Syncope, Inappropriate Sinus Tachycardia, Autoimmune Autonomic Ganglionopathy, and Familial Dysautonomia.
I have made huge strides in my managing my symptoms and improving my quality of life since being diagnosed, but it’s required me to make a lot of changes to the landscape of my life. I eat differently, exercise differently, moved to a different state, changed careers, and have different relationships with others. The good news is, my life has a lot more meaning and depth than it did before. I believe my clients can also find a fulfilling life with chronic illness, even if it looks a little different than they originally imagined.
It’s true that no two people have the same experience of their health, even if they have the same exact diagnosis on paper. Everyone with Dysautonomia will need different types of treatment and support to build their quality of life while living with chronic illness.
If you are curious to learn more about Dysautonomia and find resources. Please check out Dysautonomia International and Dysautonomia Support Network.