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Dysautonomia (or autonomic dysfunction) is a group of conditions where the autonomic nervous system (ANS) is not functioning properly. It is believed that around 70 million people are affected by someone sort of autonomic dysfunction world wide. There are around 15 types of Dysautonomia with multiple different causes and treatment options depending on the type. 

Of the 15 types, the most common types seen associated with Ehlers-Danlos can include Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS), Orthostatic Hypotension (OH), Neurocardiogenic Syncope (NS) and Inappropriate Sinus Tachycardia (IST). Other types of Dysautonomia are Familial Dysautonomia, Diabetic Autonomic Neuropathy,  Baroreflex Failure, Autonomic Dysreflexia, Multiple System Atrophy, Cerebral Salt Wasting Syndrome, Panayiotopoulos Syndrome, Postprandial Hypotension, Pure Autonomic Failure, 

Autonomic Nervous System

The autonomic nervous system is part of the Peripheral Nervous System which innervates the smooth muscles and glands of the internal organs and controls the automatic processes that occur like respiratory rate, heart rate, blood pressure, digestion, sexual arousal, temperature regulation, urination etc. 

Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS). 

Is the most common type associated with Ehlers-Danlos Syndromes (EDS) and in the simplest terms means ones heart rate increases inappropriately high when they are upright which sometimes causes people to faint. It can also cause many other symptoms associated with autonomic problems. 

 There is now an Australian not-for-profit for POTS in Australia with the


                     Australian POTS Foundation 

Check out Dysautonomia International for more information on the different types of Dysautonomia 

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Dysautonomia awareness ribbon. October is the awareness month. 

Incidence of Dysautonomia and EDS 

There is an increasing amount of literature showing a large amount of overlap between these two disorders. Of the possible reasons behind the mechanisms to explain this overlap of Dysautonomia in EDS can include adreno-receptor hyperresponsiveness, molecular defect in connective tissue of the blood vessel and peripheral neuropathy [1]. In recent studies up to 88% of patients with EDS concurrently also had a diagnosis of POTS [2]


[1] Nutritional Implications of Patients with Dysautonomia and Hypermobility Syndromes

[2] Frequency and co-occurrence of comorbidities in the Ehlers-Danlos syndromes

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