Autonomic Neuropathy: More Dangerous than You Think
If you read our articles often, you know that we usually talk about peripheral neuropathy in terms of pain and inconvenience. We usually write about quality of life, but it’s also important to know about a much more serious element: the dangers of autonomic neuropathy.
Autonomic neuropathy is the term that means damage has been done to the nerves that control the automatic functions of your body. These functions include blood pressure, heart rate, bowel and bladder emptying, and digestion. When the nerves are damaged, these functions can start to behave incorrectly. It can be dangerous and even life-threatening when this happens.
If you have symptoms of nerve damage such as:
- Numbness or tingling
- Loss of motor control
- Sexual dysfunction
- Dizziness and sweating
- Loss of hot and cold sensation
You may also have more serious damage to the nerves controlling your organs. If you think you might, see a NeuropathyDR® clinician right away! Many cases of autonomic neuropathy accompany cases of peripheral neuropathy that have more easily-noticed symptoms. With autonomic neuropathy, your body can have trouble controlling your blood pressure, might not digest food correctly, or could have problems regulating your body temperature. These conditions are dangerous!
Don’t be confused!
Autonomic neuropathy isn’t a disease of its own, and it’s not caused by any one thing. You can be at risk of developing nerve damage if you suffer from injuries, if you’ve had an amputation, or even if you spend long amounts of time sitting still. Most commonly, autonomic neuropathy goes along with a disease or condition, such as:
- Cancer (specifically, chemotherapy)
- HIV or AIDS
If you have any of these, you are at risk. Don’t wait until you develop symptoms; see your NeuropathyDR® clinician before symptoms start. You could have damage threatening your organs that you can’t detect yourself, but your doctor can discover. If your NeuropathyDR® doctor catches neuropathy early, it can save your life and even keep you from having troubling and dangerous symptoms.
So how will your doctor know if your organs are in danger?
Well, the first source of information is you. Make sure you answer your doctor’s questions about your lifestyle, exercise, diet, habits, and so on. Be honest! NeuropathyDR® clinicians are here to help, not to judge. Volunteer any information the doctor might not know, like medication you’re taking and any symptoms like the ones above you might have.
Your doctor will take your blood pressure and inspect your extremities (especially your feet) for signs of sores, infections, or sensation problems. It is possible he will conduct an ultrasound to inspect your organs in greater detail, or run tests on specific organs, such as your bladder. These are all perfectly routine, and do not necessarily mean there is a serious problem. Don’t forget: we want to catch any problems as soon as we can!
If there is a problem threatening your organs, your NeuropathyDR® Treatment Center can help!
Your doctor will make sure you’re taken care of the best way possible. For autonomic neuropathy, this can mean a couple of different treatments used together to keep you healthy. Several kinds of medications are available which will help slow the effects of nerve damage and reduce the symptoms.
Your doctor will also instruct you on ways to make your everyday routine more conducive for living with neuropathy. You may have to adjust your diet, and certain kinds of exercise may be more dangerous to people with neuropathy. Don’t worry, though! There are still lots of great foods you’ll be encouraged to eat, and you’ll be able to keep in shape the right way with the plan you and your NeuropathyDR® clinician develop together.
There’s no absolute cure for neuropathy, but NeuropathyDR® doctors and physical therapists are trained experts when it comes to the best ways to treat its different forms and keep you safe. If you have symptoms of neuropathy, or if you suffer from one of the conditions that contribute to it, don’t wait! The earlier we catch neuropathy, the safer and happier you will be. If you aren’t already in touch with a NeuropathyDR® clinician in your area, contact us and we will be happy to help you find one.