5 Things You Should Know About Solange's Autonomic Disorder

It's a very complicated nerve disease.
Solange Knowles
Solange Knowles

U.S. pop icon Solange Knowles has announced she will no longer be performing at the Afropunk festival -- because she's not well.

In an Instagram post, Knowles revealed she has been battling an autonomic disorder for the past year.

Here are five things you should know about these complicated conditions:

1. They are a range of disorders affecting the nervous system

Autonomic nerve disorders (dysautonomia) refer to disorders of autonomic nervous system (ANS) function, according to the Mayo clinic.

ANS controls a number of basic functions such as the heart rate, body temperature, breathing rate, digestion and sensation.

2. There are several types of autonomic disorders

They can vary in symptoms and severity, and they often stem from different underlying causes. Certain types can be very sudden and severe, yet also reversible. These include:

  • Neurocardiogenic syncope (NCS), which is a common cause of syncope or fainting. The fainting is a result of a sudden slowing of blood flow to the brain and can be triggered by dehydration, sitting or standing for a long time, warm surroundings and stressful emotions, according to Healthline.
  • Hereditary sensory and autonomic neuropathies (HSAN), a group of related genetic disorders that cause widespread nerve dysfunction in children and adults. The condition can cause an inability to feel pain, temperature changes or touch. It can also affect a wide variety of body functions.
  • Holmes-Adie Syndrome (HAS) mostly affects the nerves controlling the muscles of the eye, causing vision problems. One pupil will likely be larger than the other, and it will constrict slowly in bright light. Often it involves both eyes.

3. Symptoms

Symptoms are wide-ranging and can include problems with the regulation of heart rate, the regulation of blood pressure, body temperature, perspiration, and bowel and bladder functions.

Other symptoms include fatigue, lightheadedness, feeling faint or passing out, weakness and cognitive impairment.

One can experience any or all of these symptoms depending on the cause.

4. Sexual problems

Sexual problems in men, such as difficulty with ejaculation or maintaining an erection and sexual problems in women, such as vaginal dryness or difficulty having an orgasm, can also indicate the presence of an autonomic disorder.

Urinary problems, such as difficulty starting urination and incomplete emptying of the bladder, are also symptomatic of an autonomic disorder.

5. Treatment

A doctor can treat the disorder by addressing the symptoms. For example, orthostatic hypertension can be helped by lifestyle changes and medication. Its symptoms may respond to elevating the head of your bed, drinking enough fluids, adding salt to your diet, or changing positions slowly, for instance.

Nerve damage, however, is more challenging to cure, notes Healthline. This may necessitate physical therapy, walking aids, feeding tubes and other methods to help treat more severe nerve involvement.