ANS – Autonomic Nervous System Test

What is the “Autonomic Nervous System” (“ANS”) ?

  • Your autonomic nervous system (ANS) is the part of your nervous system that functions to sustain your life by controlling your heart, lungs, digestive system, blood pressure, immune system, certain of your reflexes, fluid balance, pupil diameter, sweating, and sexual function.
  • There are two parts (or branches) of your ANS: the sympathetic branch and the parasympathetic branch. Generally, the sympathetic branch is more in control when you are stressed, ill, or injured, while the parasympathetic branch is more in control when you are relaxing, sleeping, or recovering from an illness or injury.
  • In fact, most illnesses and injuries cause or result from an imbalance between these two branches. An imbalance in your ANS can tell your doctor many things about how healthy you are, as well as what can be done to keep you as healthy as possible.

What is an ANS Test?

  • We perform three (3) independent clinical ANS tests (or studies) designed to determine the ability of both branches of the autonomic nervous system (ANS) to respond to and relax from a challenge.
  • The two branches that make up the ANS are the sympathetic and parasympathetic (SNS and PSNS, respectively).

What are the different components of the ANS test?

  • The ANS test consists of 3 components or challenges.
  • The challenges are:

– deep breathing to challenge the PSNS,

– valsalva to challenge the SNS, and

– standing from a seated position to challenge both systems

How long does it take?

  • A study takes approximately 25 minutes to complete.

What results will be obtained from this test?

  • The ANS test will tell us whether your sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system are “in balance” or “out of balance”.
  • These results will help guide Dr. Athni in formulating a treatment plan to try to bring the ANS back “in balance”.

How often is the ANS test performed?

  • If your ANS test is “normal”, we will not have to repeat the study at any set interval.
  • But, if it is abnormal, we will probably repeat the study in 4-6 months to see if our therapeutic intervention is resulting in any ANS improvement.

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