Wednesday, 3 May 2017

The Ins And Outs Of Autonomic Neuropathy

Today's post from (see link below) is a concise but very informative overview of what autonomic neuropathy entails. Autonomic nerve damage is when the symptoms move away from just numbness, tingling or burning in the feet or hands, to damage affecting the involuntary functions of your body - things you have no control over! It can be alarming and life-changing, so if you feel that your neuropathy is now extending to other areas of your daily lives, or have just been told that you have autonomic nerve damage, then you need to see a doctor who knows what he/she is talking about and can give you the best advice. Home doctors are often limited in their knowledge and experience of autonomic neuropathy, so seeing a neurologist may be a wise move. Doing your own research and seeking out the best ways to make your life easier, are also highly recommended. There are many articles here on the blog about autonomic neuropathy - use the search button to find them.

Autonomic Neuropathy Overview Last Updated: May 17, 2011 References Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
What is autonomic neuropathy?

A person with autonomic neuropathy or ANS neuropathy syndrome has a group of symptoms, not a disease, that occur when there is damage to the nerves that run through the peripheral nervous system. This nerve damage affects the nerves responsible for the regulation of blood pressure, heart rate, digestion, and emptying of the bladder and bowels. Autonomic neuropathy may be an inherited (e.g. Fabry disease) or an acquired condition. In most cases, autonomic neuropathy develops in conjunction with another disease process. Diabetes is the most common cause of autonomic neuropathy. Other examples include Lyme disease, HIV infection, Chagas disease, botulism, diphtheria, leprosy, acute intermittent porphyria, end stage kidney disease, severe liver disease, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, Guillain-Barre syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, vitamin B12 deficiency, and chronic alcohol abuse. There are a large number of drugs, such as chemotherapy medications, that can cause a drug-related autonomic neuropathy.

What are the symptoms of autonomic neuropathy?

The symptoms of autonomic neuropathy usually develop gradually over years and include constipation, swollen abdomen, diarrhea, a full feeling after eating a small amount, nausea and vomiting, blood pressure changes, dizziness or faintness upon standing (orthostatic hypotension), urinating difficulty, and urinary incontinence. Other symptoms of autonomic neuropathy include vision changes, palpitations, tinnitus, headache, chest pain, shortness of breath, impotence, urinary frequency, bedwetting, urinary retention, and urinary incontinence. Other symptoms include burning feet, itching, numbness and tingling, dry skin, brittle nails, and cold feet.

How does the doctor treat autonomic neuropathy?

Treatment for autonomic neuropathy is directed at the underlying cause. Treatment for autonomic neuropathy often includes medications to help with salt and fluid retention, reduce postural hypotension, and increase fluid in the blood vessels. Treatment may also include sleeping with the head raised, the use of elastic stockings and eating small yet frequent meals.

Autonomic Neuropathy Symptoms

Symptoms of autonomic neuropathy include:

Faintness upon standing
Faintness during urination
Faintness during defecation
Abdominal swelling
Full feeling after eating a small amount
Drops in blood pressure when standing
Difficulty urinating
Urinary incontinence
Urinary frequency
Stool incontinence
Vision impairment
Chest pain
Shortness of breath
Burning feet
Numbness and tingling
Dry skin
Brittle nails
Cold feet

For more information:

Type 1 diabetes symptoms
Type 2 diabetes symptoms
Peripheral neuropathy symptoms

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