MS is a neurodegenerative disease characterized by a combination of neurologic and autonomic symptoms. Patients experience difficulty with balance, walking, and spasticity, as well as weakness, numbness, and vision.
Autonomic dysfunction is present in the vast majority of MS patients, causing fatigue, sleep disturbances, altered cognitive function (brain fog), cold or heat intolerance, headaches, and bladder or bowel dysfunction.
The Link to Autonomic Dysfunction
The ANS (autonomic nervous system) is responsible regulating cardiac function as well as making all of the finely tuned adjustments necessary in order to maintain homeostasis. Patients with autonomic dysfunction show no variation in heart rate when subjected to physical stimuli. Patients may undergo autonomic testing in clinic as part of the diagnostic process. This involves HRV (heart rate variability) analysis to objectively confirm the clinical diagnosis. HRV testing measures the normal variations in heart rate that should occur in response to physical stimuli.
MS is a progressive disease characterized by attacks, relapses, flare-ups, and gradual worsening of neurologic symptoms. Over time, autonomic symptoms may become more dominant, severely impacting normal daily functioning.
For these reasons, it is possible early intervention could be advantageous. However, treatment can be effective for those with more advanced symptoms as well.
If you are a patient or know someone with MS and are interested in more information, please contact us toll free at (844) 247-2728 or (949) 247-8877.