The Northern Virginia (NOVA)
Support Group

Maryland Bay Area OI, CFS, FMS SG

 Home          Email Us         Subscribe        Search       Sitemap 

MD Bay Area OI/Dysautonomia & CFS/FMS Support

Toni Marshall, (410) 647-7578


Online: Yahoo! announcement-only group  MVPS/D_OI_NOVA

About MD Bay Area Support

Phone and email support from Toni Marshall, person with CFS and POTS.
There have been meetings in the past and there may be some in the future.

Need an in person meeting? Closest Groups that meet in person:

Nova CFS/FMS Support Group, Nova MVPS/D & OI Support Group, Elly's Gratitude Group
CFIDS Network of Baltimore

Orthostatic Intolerance / Dysautonomia Resources & Articles 
Elsewhere On this Site

Other Websites for OI  / Dysautonomia / MVP Syndrome

What are the symptoms of MVPS/Dysautonomia/Orthostatic Intolerance?

There is Mitral Valve Prolapse (MVP) and there is Mitral Valve Prolapse Syndrome / Dysautonomia (MVPS/D). This page and group are concerned not with the heart valve problem, MVP, but the collection of symptoms that have come to be known as MVP Syndrome, a kind of dysautonomia where it is particularly challenging to be upright and still. That is why it is also called a type of orthostatice intolerance (OI).

40% of patients with Mitral Valve Prolapse (heart click or murmur from regurgitation) and many people with CFS and FM have an imbalance of the autonomic nervous system (ANS) called, in general, a dysautonomia. POTS and NMH are also forms of dysautonomia.

The ANS is composed of two systems; the parasympathetic and the sympathetic. It controls involuntary body functions, such as respiration, heartbeat, blood pressure, vision, and digestion. When this system is out of balance it can cause a myriad of symptoms, including chest pain, panic attacks, anxiety, fatigue, migraines, irritable bowel, lightheadedness, weakness, heat intolerance, alcohol intolerance, pallor or redness of extremities, numbness and/or tingling in the arms and/or legs, depression and/or mood swings, hypersensitive startle reflex, neckaches, backaches and/or other muscular tension or twitching, loss of concentration, foggy thinking or memory problems, swelling of extremities, feelings of electrical current going through your body, skin problems, sleep difficulties, allergies, feeling hot or cold-unrelated to external temperature, visual disturbances and more.

The above combination of symptoms is known as MVP Syndrome/Dysautonomia to some. Certain finer distinctions are made for other dysautonomias such as NMH and POTS. All can be considered forms of orthostatic intolerance (OI) - literally difficulty remaining upright and still, or OI can be considered a symptom of syndrome as by Bell in CFS. Diagnosis is made by physical exam and a careful medical history, with possibly a tilt table test or modified standing test. Most people with OI, MVP Syndrome, POTS, or NMH, have nothing wrong with their hearts. The majority of symptoms are from the struggling nervous and circulatory systems. Common triggering events - childbirth, major viral illness, menopause, accident, surgery, college (leaving home and stress), death of a loved one, marriage, moving, divorce. People with MVPS/D have a higher incidence of: TMJ (temporomandibular joint dysfunction), scoliosis, fibromyalgia, PMS, fibrocystic breast disorder, tinnitus, infertility, SAD (seasonal affective disorder), altitude sickness, seasickness.

Main source for MVPS/D symptoms: The Society for MVP's symptom page.

Why We Discuss MVPS/Dysautonomia along with CFS and FM
From CFSupport and MVPS-D_OI_nova e-mails, April 2006.

by Toni Marshall

Becoming a co-moderator for the MVPS-D/OI email support group seems a good opportunity to offer the compelling description of MVP Syndrome, above, and how the information helped me understand the relationship between CFS and OI/Dysautonomia years ago.  Reading the list of symptoms may prove helpful for others to decide if they, too, have circulatory problems caused by an imbalanced Autonomic Nervous System (ANS).  Elly and I have been co-moderators of CFSupport for many years and, recently, I volunteered to help with the MVPS/D group since I never tire of discussing my dysautonomia experience. 

After I'd been diagnosed with POTS in 1998 and CFS in 1997, attending every CFS group meeting, I still wondered if the NoVA CFS Support Group was the right one for me.  I didn't relate to many symptoms others described in meetings.  I didn't have email then, making it hard to get detailed information from other members, especially since I was usually quite late to meetings.  I collected handouts at meetings, but read only a few.

A list of mitral valve prolapse syndrome and dysautnomia symptoms was included in most MVPS/D group newsletters Elly had produced for that support group.  She brought additional copies of the MVPS newsletter to the No VA CFS/FMS group meetings.  The list included many symptoms I had experienced most of my life but thought completely unrelated to each other.  Many symptoms were simply annoying, not debilitating.  I thought they meant I was just weird, as in, "Whoa, that's weird!", without further thought.  

At the time, I had no idea what MVPS was and no idea how it related to CFS.  What a relief to realize someone somewhere had a clue concerning my symptoms, weird, scary or miserable, whatever their diagnostic name.  It was a revelation to realize so much of my "weirdness" was typical for people with these conditions. 

To realize I'd found a place, after all, The NoVA CFS/FMS Support Group, to discuss my difficulties with people suffering similarly brought me great comfort during a bad, scary time.  I was introduced to ideas about what the diagnosis meant and suggestions offering relief (supplements, support hose, time-released prescription potassium chloride, fidgeting, rocking, semi-reclining with feet up, salt and water).   Maybe the MVPS/D symptom list and description will help others feel less alone, to trust there's a safe place for them, too.

Toni Marshall
Co-Author of 
Inclined to Recline: Our Tips for Managing OI
Co-Leader, NoVA CFS/FM Support Group & CFSupport
Updated August 2006