Sunday, 12 March 2017

Autonomic Neuropathy Can Affect Most Of Your Bodily Functions

Today's post from (see link below) is a simple but useful breakdown of what autonomic neuropathy is and how it affects us. Most people begin their nerve damage journey with 'normal' peripheral neuropathy, where the longest nerves become damaged, causing problems in feet, legs and hands but many go on to experience autonomic neuropathy, where the nerve damage starts to affect the involuntary functions we take for granted. This article is a good starting point for your own discussions with your doctor and further investigations as you try to find the best way to live with it.

Autonomic Neuropathy
18 / February 2017  Posted by Web Honkers
Autonomic Neuropathy


Autonomic neuropathy is a condition that occurs when nerves controlling involuntary body functions are damaged. When this happens, it might affect temperature control, blood pressure, bladder function, digestion and in extreme cases sexual function. This nerve damage hinders transfer of messages from the brain to the organs of the autonomic nervous system like blood vessels, the heart, as well as sweat glands. Although diabetes is the main cause of this condition, other health conditions including infections and medications might also lead to nerve damage.


Autonomic neuropathy may affect many organs at the same time. This can lead to a wide range of symptoms. The affected nerves usually determine symptoms and signs of this condition. However, some of the most common ones include:

- Fainting and dizziness especially when standing due to rapid drop in blood pressure -

 Urinary problems like incontinence, difficulty starting urination and inability to empty your bladder completely that can cause urinary tract infections. -

 Sexual difficulties including problems such as achieving or even maintaining an erection. Men suffer from erectile dysfunction while women suffer from vaginal dryness and problems achieving orgasm. -

 Difficulties in food digestion like feeling full and satisfied after just a few food bites, diarrhea, constipation, loss of appetite, abdominal bloating, nausea, heartburn and difficulty swallowing. -

 Sluggish pupil reaction that makes it hard to adjust your sight from light to dark. Driving at night also becomes a problem. -

 Exercise intolerance. This usually occurs when your heart rate fails to adjust to your changing exercise level.


As previously highlighted, various health conditions can lead to autonomic neuropathy. It might also occur as a side effect of various treatments and medications for other diseases like cancer. Some of the main causes of this condition include:

- Diabetes: This is the most popular cause of autonomic neuropathy. When this happens, it can damage nerves gradually, thus worsening the situation. -

 Autoimmune diseases: Especially when the immune system attacks and then damages your body parts including nerves. Some of the common examples include systemic lupus erythematosus, Sjogren’s syndrome, celiac disease and rheumatoid arthritis.

 Autonomic neuropathy can also be caused by a sudden attack on the immune system due to some cancers. -

 Abnormal protein buildup especially in organs that affect the nervous system -

 Nerve injury due to surgery or neck radiation - 

Other infectious diseases like botulism, HIV and Lyme disease can also lead to autonomic neuropathy. -

 Inherited disorders

Treatments Available

Treatments for this condition mainly target the damaged nerves as well as any underlying condition that might be causing injury to the nerves. Various treatments are available based on your symptoms. For the case of diabetes, control of blood sugar is the first priority. Once the underlying disease causing the nerve damage is addressed, the second step involves managing the specific symptoms. Some medications and treatments can provide relief from autonomic neuropathy symptoms. Affected body parts and organs are treated separately.

Bottom Line

Although certain hereditary diseases that expose you to autonomic neuropathy can’t be prevented, you can prevent or slow the progression of the symptoms. This can be done by taking good care of your health as well as managing your medical conditions. Ensure that you follow your doctor’s advice and recommendations on healthy living, and you will be able to control many conditions and diseases.

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