Friday, April 10, 2009

Symptom Watch, Medication Changes, and POTS stuff

My digestion has gone in the other direction today, probably as a reaction to the medication I took to cope with yesterday's symptoms. It also caused severe abdominal pain. Hopefully, I'll get back on track soon.

The medication changes I've made recently:

less Cymbalta--to help me sleep through the night

less Diamox--to see if I can handle more CSF fluid and prevent possible low pressure symptoms

more Provigil--to see if I can increase my energy.

All of these have seemed to work out so far. They've been very gradual dose changes, and I don't believe they are causing any of my problems.

Having my conditions, especially POTS, is like living on a roller coaster (which may or may not have anything to do with my frequent roller coaster dreams). The autonomic nervous system is supposed to maintain homeostasis, or balance, within the body. But my system overreacts and underreacts to different stimuli, causing me to be constantly out of balance.

The functions of the autonomic nervous system include: heart rate, blood pressure, respiration rate, pupil dilation, digestion, urination, and sexual arousal. This system is divided into two parts: the sympathetic and the parasympathetic nervous systems.

The sympathetic nervous system controls pupil dilation, decreases digestion, generates energy, and increases heart rate. This is responsible for excitation and the "fight or flight" response to stress.

The parasympathetic nervous system dilates the blood vessels, increasing blood flow to the digestive tract, constricts the pupils, and promotes calming of the nerves. This is responsible for the body at rest.

The endocrine, urinary, and reproductive systems are also controlled by the ANS.

With POTS, sitting or standing up causes drastic glitches in the functioning of the ANS. This causes tachycardia, a decrease in blood flow to the brain, and changes in consciousness.

POTS is found secondary to Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. POTS can cause IBS. And POTS is often mistaken for fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome. Patients with POTS secondary to EDS are generally plagued with illness their whole life.

However, if my cranial settling can be relieved with fusion revision, there is still a chance that my POTS symptoms will also improve!