What is Pure Autonomic Failure (PAF)?

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Pure autonomic failure is dysfunction of many of the processes controlled by the autonomic nervous system, such as blood pressure. It is not fatal.The cause is usually unknown but sometimes is an autoimmune disorder. The most common symptom is an excessive decrease in blood pressure when a person stands (orthostatic hypotension). People may sweat less and become intolerant of heat. The pupils may not widen (dilate) and narrow (constrict) normally. Vision may be blurred. People may have difficulty emptying the bladder (urine retention). They may be constipated or lose control of bowel movements. Men may have difficulty initiating and maintaining an erection (erectile dysfunction). Patients with PAF have a generally good outlook; many live for decades after the onset of their disease. The most common cause of death in these patients is pulmonary embolus or recurrent infection. The incidence of both myocardial infarction and stroke does not appear to be significantly increased in this ... more
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