Friday, April 8, 2016

Guts, Germs, and Gladiators

Dysautonomia is an umbrella term for diseases that affect the autonomic nervous system. (Autonomic like automatic.) This can mean heart rate, breathing, urination, blood pressure, and digestion to name a few.



Gastroparesis is a common complaint for those with dysautonomia. The nerves that make the stomach empty or that cause peristalsis of the intestines don’t function properly. This causes a delay in digestion which leads to nausea, pain, bloating, and often vomiting. The gut is one of those things that no one thinks about until it isn’t working properly, and then you realize how much our amazing bodies function without us even thinking about it.



A cold for someone with dysautonomia can cause a flare-up in symptoms. This means the already debilitating fatigue becomes unbearable or the neuropathic pain spikes and spreads. It can mean a systolic blood pressure in the 80’s (or lower) even when lying down and pushing fluids. It can mean jumps in heart rate to the 160’s just to get up to the bathroom. The flu probably means a visit to the emergency room to get IV fluids. I cringe whenever I’m in public and someone sneezes or coughs.

Living with this chronic illness is like being a gladiator with the nervous system playing the part of Emperor Nero. It’s a little crazy (okay, a lot crazy). You never know what battle to expect when you wake up each day. You get good at managing lots of different weapons. You hurt a lot, but sadly, you never get a hot body despite the workout...!

Are you not entertained!?




9 comments:

  1. This was so interesting to read, I never knew many of the things you mentioned. We learn something new every day.
    Yvonne.

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    1. I'm glad to hear that it was informative and interesting. I never know what other people will think when I try to explain this illness! Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment. It is greatly appreciated. :)

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  2. Thank you so much for sharing this. I'm learning a lot.

    Too bad about the lack of hot body, though. You'd think there'd be SOME payoff. Bodies, man.

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    1. I know, right? ;P
      I'm glad you're learning. That makes me feel like the posts are worth it.

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  3. I am a RN and I haven't this much knowledge about this disease. Thank you for this education!!

    Paula from
    Smidgen, Snippets, & Bits

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    1. Thanks for stopping by. I know as a nurse, it's a challenge to deal with invisible illnesses. I'm glad to spread the information and awareness!

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  4. Gastroparesis sounds terrible, especially it leading up to vomiting. I'm not exactly sure what meds, if any, one would take for that? Hopefully not many of these are simple "grin and bear it" scenarios.

    Sorry that one's body doesn't get the physical benefits from the workout it's constantly engaged in, but as long as it slays the enemies in the pit and you survive!

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  5. There are many who end up with feeding tubes. There are some meds, but they are mostly ineffective and have long-term side effects. It comes down to figuring out what foods work best for you, and eating small amounts. I was originally doing it ALL wrong. I thought if I ate foods that were healthy (like raw veggies or complex grains) that I'd feel better. It ended up being the complete opposite. While it might have made me feel better in some ways, it made my gut a mess! It took me almost six years to realize what was happening. (I'm a little slow sometimes!)

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