Vegetovascular dystonia is an increasingly common condition, which causes a whole palette of disorders and therefore requires a specific approach to diagnosis and treatment. It affects people of all ages and without proper treatment can be life-shattering.
What are the signs?
Vegetovascular dystonia is a kind of disorder, which affects many functions of the body and disrupts general well-being. The most common symptoms are fatigue, weakness, headache, drowsiness, insomnia, agitation, fears, depression.
The condition undermines the functioning of the nervous system in general, causing dizziness, fainting, hyperthermia.
Many patients have digestion issues, such as abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhea, constipation, poor appetite.
Dystonia causes cardiac issues, such as arrhythmia, tachycardia, chest pain, hypo- and hypertension, heart murmurs.
Respiratory symptoms include coughing, shortness of breath even after brief physical activity.
Other signs include emotional instability, sudden mood shifts, and sexual disorders.
A friend of mine about 30 recently reported a sudden onslaught of dystonia-like symptoms at work. It all began with a minor headache at the end of each workday. He disregarded it as a mere sign of tiredness, which everyone feels at this time. However, things got worse after a couple of weeks: the headache grew more severe, and his heart rate would race in the evening. Finally, he had to see a physician. The examination revealed a stress-related dystonia. By the time, the condition began to affect his mood and temperament: he grew irritable and did not want to appear in crowded places, because noise and movement would irritate him. He had difficulty getting up in the morning, organizing himself, and often came late to work from time to time.
What causes it?
Vegetovascular dystonia is a very complex condition, which develops due to a number of factors, mostly resulting from prolonged stress. It takes months and years for the condition to develop, and it can pretty much ruin your life when it reaches its full-blown stage.
Other factors include hormonal changes, which occur during pregnancy, breastfeeding, sensitive age periods. People, who are psychologically vulnerable (mostly women) are also susceptible to dystonia. Vegetovascular dystonia affects children and teenagers as well.
The most common causes are:
- Diseases affecting the central and peripheral nervous system (hypothalamus, brainstem, limbic system)
- Chronic endocrine, gastrointestinal, and cardiovascular conditions.
- Family history of dystonia.
Diagnosing and treatment of dystonia is as complex a matter, as is the disease itself. There are no two dystonic patients in the whole world showing identical disease patterns. It takes a close professional examination to identify causes and reveal the most affected part of the body.
When diagnosing it, doctors first target the organ or system where symptoms are more pronounced. It is advisable to have blood and urine analyzed, go through an EKG/echo test, and ultrasonography.
How do I treat it?
Treatment should be conducted by one or a group of qualified physicians based on examination results. There are conventional and drug-free treatment methods.
Conventional treatment should be chosen based on the severity of the case and patients’ response to treatment. It is highly individual. Doses should be minimal, and they can be changed gradually depending on the symptoms.
Drug-free methods include acupuncture, massage, hydro- and physiotherapeutic procedures.
Herbal remedies and vitamins are highly advisable.
It is absolutely imperative that doctors target any and all underlying disorders!