As we continue to make our way through the Coronavirus pandemic we are hearing from many of our guests that they feel their levels of stress and anxiety has increased. You may know that long periods of stress and anxiety can leave you feeling tired and worn out, but did you know that it can have serious long-term effects on your health?
Because the “fight or flight” response that is manifested through stress and anxiety is so powerful, it can cause your body to react in extreme ways. Typically, patients who are exhibiting symptoms of long-term, chronic stress will often complain of:
- Low energy
- Upset stomach, including diarrhea or constipation
- Chest pain
- Loss of sexual desire
A powerful side effect of stress and anxiety can be a break down of the body’s immune system. Something none of us need as we work to avoid COVID-19.
One test that can help us get a look into a guest’s nervous system Autonomic Nervous System Test or ANS. There’s a lot to know about this test, and we’ve provided a pretty comprehensive look at it on our website where we answer questions like:
What is the Autonomic Nervous System?
The ANS is comprised of the nerves that control the function of the internal organs including our heart, intestines, stomach, bladder, sexual organs, and sweat glands. The ANS plays an essential role in keeping the body’s internal environment optimal via monitoring and maintaining proper temperature, electrolyte balance, blood glucose, blood oxygen concentration, blood carbon dioxide concentration, pH, blood pressure, heart rate, and respiratory rate to name a few. As you can see, the nervous system is complex and the ANS plays a huge role in keeping us alive and healthy.
What is an ANS Test?
An ANS test is a simple, painless, and essentially effortless test that we perform in our office. This test consists of having you sit down and place your feet on metal plate. There is also a component where you have your blood pressure monitored. Your heart rate and vascular health can easily be assessed with a pulse ox device on your finger while you perform different breathing patterns. It takes less than 15 minutes and is painless and non-invasive while providing us with important information.
Why is an ANS Performed?
We perform ANS testing because of the vast amount of information it gives us. ANS testing looks at ANS activity, mental stress, vascular health, insulin resistance, and sudomotor function. We get individual scores for each of these components of the ANS and are then able to assess these areas individually. ANS testing allows us to identify areas of the ANS that could be improved on and help you optimize your health.
What Are the Benefits of an ANS Test?
The main benefit of this test is the early detection of ANS diseases, damage, and dysfunction. Since the ANS is not a system that is easily observed, early detection of dysfunction can enable medical providers to help you make changes in your life to prevent disease or early death. Every disease state affects the ANS in some way and this testing helps us identify early, subtle signs of disease.
How Often Should I Get an ANS Test?
Generally, we recommend having an ANS test performed once per year, usually during your Complete Health Assessment prior to your annual. There are some circumstances where the frequency of ANS testing is increased and if necessary, your provider will discuss this with you.
How Much Does an ANS Test Cost?
Here at the Wright Center for Woman’s Health, we bill your insurance for the cost of the ANS test. Since we see so much value in this test and the powerful information we receive, we make the ANS test available to all of our guests at no out of pocket cost to them.