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Slide background Autonomic Nervous System — ANS

WHAT IS ANS?

ANS is the part of the nervous system that controls Blood Pressure, Heart Rate, Blood Flow, Body Temperature, Biological and Sexual Functions, Fluid and Electrolyte Balance, Digestion, and other involuntary bodily functions.

ANS testing is a highly specialized field, requiring comprehensive training that educates doctors on Autonomic diseases, testing administration, and results interpretation. During the yearlong program, Dr. Zia completed his fellowship at Harvard Medical School and is considered one of the only specialists in the state to have earned this certification.

 

WHEN YOU HAVE KNOWN RISK FACTORS FOR AUTONOMIC NEUROPATHY

Some conditions increase your risk of Autonomic Neuropathy, like diabetes. In these cases it is often easier to determine a diagnosis based on your symptoms.

 

WHEN DON’T HAVE RISK FACTORS FOR AUTONOMIC NEUROPATHY

The diagnosis can be much more difficult to diagnose when you are not experiencing classic symptoms of Autonomic Neuropathy and there is no underlying cause. In this case, your medical history, thorough description of all symptoms, and a physical examination is necessary.

 

HOW DOES IT WORK?

There are a couple of different ways to evaluate the reaction of several body functions controlled by the autonomic nervous system.

  • Breathing Tests: measure how your heart rate and blood pressure responds to tests like the Valsalva maneuver, where you repeatedly exhale forcibly.

  • Tilt-Table Test: monitors how your blood pressure and heart rate respond to changes in posture and position as the table tilts from a steady horizontal position to a vertical position, simulating what occurs when you stand up after lying down. The normal response is for your body to compensate for the drop in blood pressure when you stand up by narrowing your blood vessels and increasing your heart rate. If you have ANS, your response may be slow or abnormal. A similar test involves standing for one minute, squatting for one minute and then standing again. This is just another way to monitor heart rate and blood pressure.

 

WHAT WILL I LEARN FROM A TILT-TABLE TEST

Your doctor may recommend the tilt-table test when Neurocardiogenic Syncope is the cause of your fainting and additional testing is needed to help confirm the diagnosis. Neurocardiogenic Syncope results when blood flow temporarily alters your heart rate and lowers blood pressure. Less blood flows to the brain and fainting may occur. This type of syncope is also referred to as vasovagal syncope, reflex syncope, and the common faint. Warning signs include: skin paleness, weakness, sweating, blurred vision, or nausea, but sometimes symptoms aren’t apparent. Neurocardiogenic Syncope can also result from the sight of blood or something upsetting, but it can also happen with no clear trigger when you are merely sitting or standing.

 

SYMPTOMS

  • Cardiovascular problems
  • Diminished arousal and orgasm capacity in women
  • Drop in blood pressure that causes dizziness or fainting
  • Heat intolerance, especially during physical activity
  • Male impotence
  • Trouble urinating, leakage and urinary tract infections
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Problems digesting food that can lead to:
    • Abdominal bloating
    • Constipation
    • Diarrhea
    • Indigestion and heartburn
    • Loss of appetite
    • Nausea
    • Vomiting

ANS testing can help diagnose…

  • Amyloid Neuropathy
  • Anxiety or Stress Disorders
  • Asthma
  • Cardiovascular Associated Diseases
  • Diabetic Neuropathy
  • Idiopathic Neuropathy
  • Multiple System Dystrophy
  • Obesity
  • Post-Partum Dysfunctions
  • Psychological Conditions
  • Pure Autonomic Failure
  • Sjogren’s Syndrome

 

PREPARATION

  • You may be asked not to eat or drink for 2 hours before a tilt-table test
  • Take your medications as normal unless otherwise instructed by your doctor

 

WHAT TO EXPECT

Our technician will place electrodes (sticky patches) on your legs, chest and arms, which are connected by wires to a machine that will monitor your heart rate. The technician will also affix a blood pressure monitor to your finger and/or arm for observation during the test.

The tilt-table is equipped with a footrest and safety belts so that you will remain secure as the table tilts from a horizontal position to a vertical position. As the test begins, you start off laying in a horizontal or flat position for about 5 minutes while your heart rate and blood pressure are being monitored. The table then tilts to a 60-90 degree angle, which is where you will remain as still as possible for about 30 minutes. If you begin to experience symptoms of lightheadedness, nausea, sweating, or irregular heartbeats, be sure to inform the doctor.

 

FAINTING DURING THE TEST

If at any time while in the vertical position you faint or your heart rate and blood pressure indicates that you are about to faint, the table will be returned to a horizontal position. You may not ever loose full consciousness, but if so, most people regain consciousness almost immediately.

 

AFTER THE TILT-TEST

Upon completion of the tilt-test, you may immediately return to normal activity.