The autonomic nervous system supplies and influences virtually every organ in your body. It comprises both the sympathetic (fight or flight response) and parasympathetic (rest and digestion) nervous systems. It also helps with the control of blood pressure and body temperature.
Examples of autonomic disorders can include:
- Excess sweating or an inability to sweat effectively
- Fainting episodes (syncope)
- Variable blood pressure
- Multiple system atrophy (MSA) - a rare neurodegenerative condition of the nervous system
- Primary autonomic failure (PAF)
- Autoimmune autonomic ganglionopathy (AAG)
- Autonomic nerve damage caused by diabetes (diabetic autonomic neuropathy)
- Autonomic impairment caused by spinal cord injury (including spinal dysreflexia)
- Postural tachycardia syndrome (PoTS)
- Harlequin syndrome
- Small fibre autonomic neuropathy
Patients with autonomic disorders can display a range of symptoms including lightheadedness or fainting, constipation, bladder control problems, or sexual dysfunction. They can also be more susceptible to falls and can have problems with anxiety or other mental health issues.
The earlier patients with any autonomic dysfunction are properly investigated and treated, the more effective the treatment can be.
At UCLH Private Healthcare, we are able to offer a comprehensive autonomic diagnostic service to help understand the reason behind your symptoms.
Private patients will be seen in our dedicated autonomic suite on the Bloomsbury Private Ward at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery. From the comfort of a private room, we are able to carry out a wide range of tests which will stimulate your autonomic system and allow us to evaluate the responses to work out what might be going wrong.
Depending on your symptoms, we will offer a personalised programme of tests, from tilt table testing to assess fainting or dizziness, to thermoregulatory chamber assessment which allows the team to analyse your sweating function, to ambulatory 24-hour heart rate and blood pressure monitoring. Our tests have been designed to reflect your experiences in the “real world”, which sets us apart from other autonomic diagnostic services in the UK.
An expert autonomic clinician will assess your results from our specialist autonomic laboratory - the largest in the world. We will then offer you an evidence-based assessment, with recommendations for practical therapies where appropriate, recommendations for further clinical input if required, and reassurance if test results are normal.