Autonomic balance is the coordination between the two branches of the autonomic nervous system – Parasympathetic & Sympathetic nervous systems. Establishing & maintaining autonomic balance (sympathovagal balance or SB) is known to reduce mortality, morbidity and improve quality of life. Autonomic balance is not only proven for prolonging a healthy life & improving patient outcomes, autonomic balance also reduces medication load, hospitalizations and overall healthcare costs.
Autonomic balance can occur in a variety of scenarios. Excess sympathetic activity is known as sympathetic excess or SE. Parasympathetic Excess PE is excessive parasympathetic activity. Low sympathetic activity is known as sympathetic withdraw or SW, where as low parasympathetic activity is known as parasympathetic withdraw or PW. Each of these scenarios can occur independently or in some cases, can occur concurrently. High sympathetic activity is known to be associated with a variety of medical conditions such as hypertension, anxiety, depression, sleep apnea & pain. Low parasympathetic activity is known to increase risk of cardiac autonomic neuropathy (CAN).
Autonomic balance represents the current condition of lifestyle, genetics, medical history, disease & therapy. Abnormal autonomic balance (parasympathetic & sympathetic systems) at rest is known to increase mortality risk. This risk is increased with the presence of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease & diabetes. In the case of diabetes, research demonstrates significant affects on autonomic function suggesting the presence of other chronic diseases also affect autonomic balance.
Autonomic Nervous system (ANS) testing is proven to be a useful tool for assessing autonomic balance by quantifying parasympathetic & sympathetic activities. Today’s technology is accurate & reproducible presenting a standardized method for effectively coordinating balance between the Parasympathetic & Sympathetic nervous systems (autonomic balance).