What Is Autonomic Neuropathy?
Autonomic neuropathy, also known as dysautonomia, is a disorder in the nerves that are responsible for the involuntary functions of our body. The condition affects involuntary functions like heart rate, sweating, blood pressure, temperature, digestion, bladder function and sexual functions.
The nerve damage interferes with the function of the autonomic nervous system and leads to the improper signaling of messages from the brain.
Autonomic neuropathy is most common in diabetic patients. Other than diabetes, factors like infections, medications and other underlying diseases can lead to this condition.
Symptoms and treatments are done based on the extent and location of the nerve damage.
Patients should immediately medical help or see a doctor in case of:
- Low blood pressure.
- Feeling of nausea.
- Weight loss and frequent encounters with fainting.
What Are The Causes And Symptoms Of Autonomic Neuropathy?
- Prolonged stress and mental health conditions can cause autonomic neuropathy.
- It can result due to the side effects of cancer.
- Abnormal protein buildup, mostly due to cancerous activity.
- Autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, Sjogren’s syndrome, systemic lupus erythematosus, celiac disease and Guillain-Barre syndrome.
- Paraneoplastic syndrome can be another cause of dysautonomia.
- Side effects due to chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
- Due to some viruses like HIV and bacteria.
- Certain inherited disorders can cause nerve damage leading to autonomic neuropathy.
The most common and noticeable symptoms of autonomic neuropathy are:
- Feeling of dizziness and frequent fainting.
- Urinary problems.
- Sexual difficulties.
- Digestion and improper bowel functions.
- Hypoglycemia can make it difficult for the patient to recognise things.
- Sweating abnormalities.
- Sluggish pupil reactions.
- Temperature and exercise intolerance.
What Are The Risk Factors That Can Lead To Autonomic Neuropathy?
The risk factors that can lead to this condition are:
- Family history of nerve problems.
- Other underlying diseases like autoimmune diseases.
- Side effects of cancer treatments like radiotherapy, chemotherapy and medications.
- Patients having diseases like Amyloidosis, porphyria, hypothyroidism has a greater risk.
How To Diagnose The Condition?
- The doctor conducts physical exams to check the symptoms and signs of underlying diseases like diabetes, autoimmune disorders and cancer.
- If the patient is undergoing cancer treatments, intake of certain medications that cause nerve damage can be asked to stop.
- A medical history of the patient and his or her family is taken.
- Symptoms and signs are estimated.
- Autonomic function tests are performed.
- A test called the tilt-table test is performed to monitor the blood pressure and the functioning of the heart.
- Gastrointestinal tests are conducted to diagnose any change in involuntary movements.
- Thermoregulatory sweat tests.
- Urine analysis and bladder function tests (urodynamic) are performed.
- Ultrasound is performed to have better clarity on the bladder functions.
What Are The Treatment Options?
- The basic and the most effective treatment of autonomic neuropathy is to treat the underlying diseases.
- Specific symptoms are managed with the help of therapies and medications. (note: the patient should consult a doctor before trying out any medications)
- Treatment of digestive or gastrointestinal symptoms include:
- Diet changes.
- Medications to facilitate digestion and help prevent constipation. (note: the patient should consult a doctor before trying out any medications)
- Medications to ease diarrhoea and other gastric problems.
- Treatment of urinary symptoms include:
- Retrain of the bladder.
- Medications to treat abnormal bladder symptoms. (note: the patient should consult a doctor before trying out any medications)
- Catheterisation or urinary assistance.
- Treatments to treat sexual difficulties:
- External vacuum pump and
- medications to enable erections. (note: the patient should consult a doctor before trying out any medications)
- Vaginal lubricants
- Flibanserin (Addyi) for premenopausal women with low sexual desire. (note: the patient should consult a doctor before trying out any medications)
- To treat heart rhythms and blood pressure problems:
- High-salt and high-fluid diet to help with low blood pressure.
- Compression garments.
- Medications to bring the blood pressure back to normal. (note: the patient should consult a doctor before trying out any medications)
- Medications to regulate heart rate and proper functioning. (note: the patient should consult a doctor before trying out any medications)
- Doctors can prescribe medications for sweating problems, blurred vision and loss of consciousness. (note: the patient should consult a doctor before trying out any medications)
What Can Be Done By The Patient To Prevent And Care For The Condition?
- Blood pressure and underlying diseases like diabetes, auto-immune disorders should be controlled and maintained.
- The patient should take the proper dosage of the recommended medicine by their doctor. (note: the patient should consult a doctor before trying out any medications)
- Avoiding stress situations.
- The patient should avoid smoking and heavy consumption of alcohol.
- Healthy weight should be maintained by the patient.
- Regular exercise should be practiced by the patients.
- Proper diet and nutrition should be taken.
- The patient can take physical therapy and rehabilitation facilities to improve their physical and motor health.
- If the family of the patient has any history of nerve problems, they should get an early clinical diagnosis.
- Proper medications for heart problems, blood sugar levels, diabetes, kidney problems, etc. should be taken. (note: the patient should consult a doctor before trying out any medications)
The Process Of Recovery
Autonomic neuropathy can be treated but is difficult to cure completely. Taking care of the underlying diseases can help to make the condition a lot better. Physical therapies, medications and rehabilitation facilities can help the patient. Early diagnosis can help the patient to avoid greater complications.
The survival rate of autonomic neuropathy patients is about six to nine years after the diagnosis.
Family members and close ones should support the patient on their journey.
The above-mentioned remedies and medicines; are over the counter medicines (most of them) and are effective in most cases. It is advisable to contact the doctor before taking any medications.
Why Should Someone Choose Resolve360?
Resolve360 is an online rehabilitation platform for post-surgery clinical assessments, that provides solutions to post-surgery care and rehabilitation facilities for the patients. There are several programs on how to take care after undergoing surgery, what precautions and care one should take. There is free access to knowledge and consultation. For further details, don’t forget to contact us! We will take extreme pride in serving you! HAPPY RECOVERY!
For further detailed knowledge kindly go through the following points.
- Resolve360 is a promising online platform, where one can receive treatment at the comfort of their own home.
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