Sunday, 4 June 2017

Autonomic Neuropathy: What To Look Out For

Today's very short post from (see link below) responds to a frequent question here on the blog: "How do I know if I have autonomic neuropathy?" First let's reiterate what autonomic neuropathy is. If you find that your neuropathy symptoms begin to affect the bodily functions which we call 'involuntary. (you have no control over them - they function automatically) such as breathing, digestion, sexual response, sweating, eyesight etc, then it's possible you have autonomic neuropathy. As a general rule, you will already be experiencing neuropathic symptoms in your feet, legs or hands but may notice that other aspects of your life don't function as they should any more. That's the time to ask your doctor if your nerve damage is affecting other areas of your body. This post lists the most common symptoms of autonomic neuropathy and should serve as a starting point for further investigation. The problem is of course, that there could be any number of other reasons why this is happening. That's why it's important to seek advice as soon as you realise something's wrong. Autonomic neuropathy can seriously affect your quality of life, so delaying seeing your doctor could make things worse.

Autonomic Neuropathy Symptoms
By Mayo Clinic Staff

Signs and symptoms of autonomic neuropathy vary based on the nerves affected. They may include:

Dizziness and fainting when standing caused by a sudden drop in blood pressure.

Urinary problems, such as difficulty starting urination, incontinence, difficulty sensing a full bladder and inability to completely empty the bladder, which can lead to urinary tract infections.

Sexual difficulties, including problems achieving or maintaining an erection (erectile dysfunction) or ejaculation problems in men and vaginal dryness, low libido and difficulty reaching orgasm in women.

Difficulty digesting food, such as feeling full after a few bites of food, loss of appetite, diarrhea, constipation, abdominal bloating, nausea, vomiting, difficulty swallowing and heartburn, all due to changes in digestive function.

Sweating abnormalities, such as sweating too much or too little, which affects the ability to regulate body temperature.

Sluggish pupil reaction, making it difficult to adjust from light to dark and seeing well when driving at night.

Exercise intolerance, which may occur if your heart rate stays the same instead of adjusting in response to your activity level. 

When to see a doctor

Seek medical care promptly if you begin experiencing any of the signs and symptoms of autonomic neuropathy, particularly if you have diabetes and it's poorly controlled.

If you have type 2 diabetes, the American Diabetes Association (the Association) recommends annual autonomic neuropathy screening for people with type 2 diabetes as soon as you've received your diabetes diagnosis. For people with type 1 diabetes, the Association advises annual screening beginning five years after diagnosis.

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