by Amy Zellmer, Editor-in-chief
Happy New Year, everyone!!
I am excited to kick off the New Year with an issue all about dysautonomia. This is such a misunderstood and often misdiagnosed symptom of brain injury. If you have a brain injury, there’s a very high likelihood that you have some form of dysautonomia, which can range from relatively mild, to so severe it’s hard for you to function.
When I first found Functional Neurology, I was blown away by the amount of symptoms they validated and said were absolutely part of my brain injury — something that no other provider had acknowledged in the two and a half years prior. I had been struggling with so many dysautonomia symptoms and had zero idea they were all intertwined.
You really DO begin to think you’re crazy when doctors keep telling you that it’s all in your head, or that the symptoms you’re having can’t possibly be from a concussion.
Racing heart, sweaty palms, feeling lightheaded or that you’re going to pass out, startling at loud noises, brain fog, overstimulation, whooshing in your ears, pulsating headache, etc. — it all sounds like anxiety, right?
Did you know that these are ALL symptoms of dysautonomia?
Dysuautnomia happens when there is a dysfunction in the autonomic system. The autonomic system is the part of the central and peripheral nervous systems that is responsible for regulating involuntary body functions, such as heartbeat, blood flow, breathing, and digestion.
Many of the symptoms of dysautonomia are overlooked by professionals and written off as anxiety or other mental health conditions. This can lead to years of struggling and even being given unnecessary medications.
It’s critical that we, as patients and/or advocates, take charge of our own healthcare. Your doctors works for you, not the other way around. We have grown up in a society that has taught us to blindly trust our doctors, but the truth is: doctors can’t know everything. Unfortunately, brain injury is one area in particular that doctors struggle with, therefore it can result in the patient struggling tenfold.
By creating this magazine, my hope is to help enlighten the millions of people across the globe that are struggling with brain injury and help them find the proper resources sooner. There IS hope, and there ARE doctors who truly understand how to help you!
Knowledge is power!
Amy Zellmer is an award winning author, keynote speaker, and TBI survivor and advocate. She is Editor-in-chief of The Brain Health Magazine, and hosts the Faces of TBI podcast series, as well as TBI TV on YouTube.