An obscure medical condition, dysautonomia is now being
diagnosed more often in children. This is partially due to
awareness promoted by a group of extraordinary youth
who are affl icted with the condition themselves.
The Dysautonomia Youth Network of America, Inc. is a pio-
neering group of young advocates from across the world that are
diagnosed with life-impacting conditions known as dysautonomia.
These children often experience a host of perplexing symptoms
including fainting, dizziness and excessive fatigue. Instead of
feeling sorry for themselves, they are taking action by spreading
awareness and thus impacting the future.
What is dysautonomia?
Dysautonomia is a medical term utilized for a group of complex
conditions that are caused by a malfunction of the autonomic
nervous system (ANS). The ANS regulates all of the unconscious
functions of our bodies, including our cardiovascular system, gas-
trointestinal system, metabolic system and endocrine system. A
malfunction of the ANS can cause debilitating symptoms and may
pose signifi cant challenges for effective medical treatment.
Orthostatic intolerance (the inability to remain standing) is a
hallmark of the various forms of dysautonomia. Dysautonomia
conditions can range from mild to debilitating and, on rare occasions,
can even be life threatening. Each dysautonomia case is unique and
treatment must be individualized. Patients should be evaluated by a
physician who is well-versed on the recent treatment methods.
How is it diagnosed?
To diagnose dysautonomia, a tilt-table test is usually performed.
This test evaluates how the patient regulates blood pressure in
response to simple stresses. Tilt-table testing involves placing
the patient on a special table with a foot-support. The table is
tilted upward while various machines monitor blood pressure,
electrical impulses in the heart and oxygen levels.
The following diagnostic terms may be issued to children with
forms of dysautonomia:
•Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrom