December 8, 2009

Remedies and Causes for Autonomic Dysreflexia

Posted in Category : Common Ailments

Autonomic dysreflexia also referred to as autonomic hyperreflexia. Autonomic dysreflexia is believed to be a life-threatening condition and is considered a medical emergency needing immediate medical attention. This particular disorder takes place when the blood pressure of an individual with a spinal cord injury rises to extremely elevated levels, due to the hyper activity of the autonomic nervous system.


An individual who is experiencing autonomic dysreflexia shows symptoms such as excessive perspiration, pounding headaches, tingling sensations on the facial and neck region, sudden appearance of blotchy skin around the neck and appearance of goose bumps.

It is important to note that not all the symptoms are likely to appear together and its severity may vary from person-to-person. If autonomic dysreflexia or hyperreflexia is left untreated, without any medical attention, it can lead to a massive stroke and even death.

When there is a painful stimulus occurring below the level of a spinal cord injury, autonomic dysreflexia takes place. Medical health experts are of the opinion that a wide variety of stimuli may cause autonomic hyperreflexia. Any stimulus that triggers discomfort and pain or is physically and highly irritating is likely to cause hyperreflexia after the injury. One of the most common causes that can trigger hyperreflexia is stool or gas. Other causes may include irritations or inflammation of the skin, skin trauma, superficial burns, pregnancy, appendicitis, and other medical conditions.

The use of anti-hypertensive drugs is believed to be the most effective treatment for autonomic dysreflexia, provided the treatment has being meted out with immediate effect, while at the same time the triggering stimuli has been removed. Any constructive or tight clothing must be replaced with loose clothes in order to make the individual feel more comfortable.

Drug medications may also include vasodilators or drugs that cause dilation of blood vessels. One of the most unfortunate complications of autonomic dysreflexia is that it can become a chronic and recurrent affair and may often cause long-standing medical conditions such as soft tissue ulcers or hemorrhoids. If an individual has experienced autonomic dysreflexia or hyperreflexia more than once, the doctor is likely to prescribe alfa blockers or calcium channel blockers. Some complications of recurrent hyperreflexia may include epilepsy, bleeding from a ruptured blood vessel in the brain, destruction of heart tissue resulting from obstruction of the blood supply to the heart muscle etc.

Doctors are of the opinion that the cause of autonomic hyperreflexia in itself is a grievous and serious condition and must be thoroughly investigated and analyzed in order to prescribe correct treatment and prevent unneeded morbidity or death.