The symptoms of dysautonomia include faintheadedness, abnormal heartbeat and impaired functioning of other vital organs, malnutrition and unstable blood pressure, according to Dysautonomia International. Because it affects bodily systems that operate without conscious thought, it can sometimes lead to death.
Though dysautonomia is a seldom heard of condition, it is not particularly rare, according to Dysautonomia International. As of 2012, it affected 70 million people worldwide and strikes people of all ages, both sexes and every ethnic group.
There are several types of dysautonomia, according to Dysautonomia International. Among them is postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, or POTS, which affects mostly female adolescents and adults. Some of its symptoms are fainting and lightheadedness, racing heartbeat, shortness of breath, chest pains, gastrointestinal distress, and sensitivity to heat and cold when the patient stands up. Some cases of POTS are mild, while others adversely affect the quality of the patient's life.
The most common type of dysautonomia is neurocardiogenic syncope, or NCS, says Dysautonomia International. NCS causes fainting. As with POTS, the symptoms can be mild, with fainting spells being infrequent. However, the frequent fainting spells of severe NCS can make normal life impossible. Multiple system atrophy, or MSA, strikes people in early midlife. It is a progressive and fatal disease, and most patients die within a decade of diagnosis.