Let’s begin by defining autonomic neuropathy. It is a type of polyneuropathy that affects the non-voluntary, non-sensory nervous system like the internal organs. Such as the bladder muscles, the cardiovascular system, the digestive tract, and the genital organs. These organs are not under a persons control, they act automatically but we call them autonomic. The nerve bundles controlling these organs are located outside the spine and are therefore considered peripheral nerves.
The population most commonly affected by autonomicneuropathy
are people with longstanding diabetes mellitus type 1 and 2. Here is where the trouble comes in. The diabetic population is subjected to many co-morbidities. Diabetic patients with neuropathic pain and numbness of the feet can readily tell their physicians what they are feeling. With Autonomic Neuropathy it is not quite as easy because they can not feel anything. The organs affected are cut off or are blocked from effectively communicating with the brain.
So what are some of the symptoms of autonomic neuropathy that you should be concerned with? They are super important to be aware of especially if you have diabetes. Some diabetics lose the ability to discern hypoglycemia, another term for low blood sugar. That is really dangerous because if blood sugar drops they can fall into a diabetic coma.
The other area of importance concerning autonomic neuropathy is in heart rate and blood pressure changes. When the nerves connecting the heart and brain are compromised you may not be aware that you are having a heart attack. On the milder side, You may feel light-headed or faint when you stand up from lying down or sitting, or when you do a physical activity. Here is another symptom to be aware of, gastroparesis. Gastroparesis is a disorder that slows or stops the movement of food from your stomach to your small intestine.
So as you can see autonomic neuropathy is a serious problem. When you have health problems and don’t know if there are serious complications. I think the real take away here is that if you are diabetic you really need to follow your doctor’s orders to avoid further health complications. It would also be wise to start a plan of regular exercise to increase blood flow and to enhance oxygen uptake capabilities. Medication alone is an important step but rarely an answer unto itself. When you add in exercise and a proper diet you have a fighting chance to reduce the effects of autonomic neuropathy.