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WELCOME to the ATAXIA COMMUNITY: This Patient-To-Patient Community is for discussions relating to Ataxia, which occurs when parts of the nervous system that control movement are damaged. People with ataxia experience a failure of muscle control in their arms and legs, resulting in a lack of balance and coordination or a disturbance of gait.

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Diagnosing Dysautonomia


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Proper diagnosis of Dysautonomia is no simple task.  Diagnosis can take many months, to many years.  Unfortunately, many patients remain misdiagnosed with "look-alike" illnesses for several years before diagnosis.  Still others are diagnosed with Dysautonomia while their symptoms are being caused by something else.


The first step in diagnosis involves making an appointment with either a Cardiologist or Neurologist, preferably one in an academic teaching hospital.  This doctor should give you a thorough exam, and will need a complete history of your symptoms.  It's usually best to go prepared with a journal, and several days worth of blood pressure readings.


Next, the doctor will likely choose diagnostic tests based on the symptoms you present.  Some of the more common tests include:


- Cranial CT Scan

- Cranial MRI

- Electroencephalography {EEG}

- Electrocardiogram {EKG}

- Echocardiogram {ECHO}

- Exercise Stress Test

- Complete Blood Count

- Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitoring


Even if your doctor suspects Dysautonomia, he/she will likely start with these tests to rule out other possible causes for your symptoms such as epilepsy or heart arrhythmia.  Finally, he/she may schedule a Tilt Table Test/Tilt Table Test.  (If they don't mention the Tilt Table Test, you can ask them about it, or a referral to another doctor able to perform this test if it's outside their area of expertice.)  Teaching/Academic Hospitals usually have specialists with an understanding of Dysautonomia.


If you don't mind travelling further:


- Vanderbilt Autonomic Dysfunction Center

- Cleveland Clinic Autonomic Laboratory

- Langone Dysautonomia Center

- Mayo Clinic Autonomic Neurology Group at Minnesota


Other Dysautonomia Testing:

- Electrolyte Panel

- Catecholamines

- Genetic Testing (Familial Dysautonomia)

- Genetic Testing (Congenital Central Hypoventilation Syndrome)

- Quantitative Sensory Testing

- Electromyography {EMG}

- Nerve Conduction Velocity (NCV)

- Quantitative Sudomotor Axon Reflex Test




Look Alike Conditions:

- Epilepsy

- Panic Disorder

- Long QT Syndrome


Conditions Dysautonomia Can Be A Symptom Of:

- Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome

- Mitochondrial Disease

- Parkinson Disease

- Addisons Disease

- Autoimmune Disorders



- Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome

- Marfan Syndrome

- Chiari Malformation

- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

- Fibromyalgia

- Panic Disorder

- Gastroparesis

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Jun 05, 2009
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