Signs of recognition and diagnosis of autonomic nervous disorders

Autonomic neuropathy is characterized by a group of symptoms that occur when the nerves that control functions such as blood pressure, heart rate, digestion, sweating, bowel and bladder emptying, and more are damaged. love. This condition causes a lot of inconvenience, causing a marked decline in the quality of life.

Neurological disorders plant

Autonomic neuropathy causes many troublesome symptoms that reduce quality of life

What is a nervous system disorder?

The autonomic nervous system is the part of the nervous system that controls involuntary actions. For example, the beating of the heart, the widening or narrowing of blood vessels, etc. When this system fails, it can cause serious problems. Consists of:

  • Blood pressure problem
  • Heart problems
  • Difficulty breathing and swallowing
  • Erectile dysfunction in men

Autonomic neuropathy is also known as autonomic dysfunction or autonomic neuropathy. This disorder refers to an imbalance of the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems. Both of these systems are part of the autonomic nervous system. They are basically the opposite of each other. However, in some cases, they have a narrow association effect.

Autonomic dysfunction may occur singly or as a result of several other conditions. Such as diabetes, alcoholism or Parkinson’s disease. Problems can affect either part of the system. Some types are temporary but many will worsen over time. When they affect your breathing or heart function, these disorders can be life-threatening.

Some autonomic disorders tend to go into remission when pre-existing conditions are treated. However, there is usually no specific cure for autonomic dysfunction. At this point, the main goal of treatment is to improve symptoms.

According to research, experts divide autonomic nervous disorders into several categories. Each type will have different symptoms, severity, and causes. Some of these disorders can be sudden and severe, but still reversible.

The following are the most common types of autonomic nervous system disorders:

1. Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS)

Statistically, POTS affects about 1-3 million people in the United States. The number of women suffering from this syndrome is 5 times higher than that of men. It can affect both children, adolescents, and adults.

In many cases, POTS can be associated with other clinical conditions. Such as Ehlers-Danlos syndrome – an inherited condition of abnormal connective tissue.

Symptoms of orthostatic tachycardia syndrome can range from mild to severe. Up to 1 in 4 people with POTS have significant limitations in functioning. Not even able to work due to their condition.

2. Neurocardiogenic syncope (NCS)

Neurocardiogenic syncope (NCS) is also known as vasomotor syncope. This is a common cause of fainting – the result of a sudden slowing of blood flow to the brain. Causes can be dehydration, standing or sitting for long periods of time, hot surroundings or emotional stress. NCS can cause nausea, excessive fatigue, sweating, and feeling sick before or after physical activity.

types of autonomic dysfunction

Neurocardiogenic syncope (NCS) is a common form of autonomic dysfunction

3. Multisystem Atrophy (MSA)

MSA is a potentially fatal autonomic disorder. Initially, MSA causes symptoms similar to those of Parkinson’s disease. However, people with multisystem atrophy usually have a life expectancy of only 5 to 10 years from the time of diagnosis.

Research shows that MSA is a rare disorder that usually occurs in adults over the age of 40. The cause of MSA is still unknown and there is no way to treat or slow the progression of the disease.

4. Hereditary Sensory and Autonomic Disorders (HSAN)

HSAN is a group of related genetic disorders that cause widespread neurological dysfunction in both adults and children. This condition can lead to an inability to feel pain, change in temperature, and touch. In addition, it can affect a variety of other bodily functions. HSAN is classified into 4 different groups according to age, symptoms and genetic patterns.

5. Holmes-Adie Syndrome (HAS)

HAS mainly affects the nerves that control the muscles of the eye. Therefore it can cause vision problems. One pupil may be larger than the other, and it will slowly shrink when exposed to bright light. Usually HAS involves both eyes.

HAS can occur from a viral infection that causes inflammation and damage to nerve cells. Loss of deep tendon reflexes is permanent, but HAS is not considered life-threatening. Eye drops and glasses can help correct vision difficulties.

6. Other types

Other types of autonomic dysfunction may be the result of disease or bodily injury. Autonomic neuropathy refers to nerve damage caused by certain medications, injuries, or diseases. Some of the diseases that cause this neurological disorder include:

  • Uncontrollable high blood pressure
  • Drinking a lot of alcohol for a long time
  • Diabetes
  • Autoimmune disorder

Parkinson’s disease can cause orthostatic hypotension or other symptoms of autonomic nervous system damage. This can cause significant disability in people with the disease.

Signs of autonomic nervous disorder

The symptoms of autonomic dysfunction depend on which bodily functions are affected. As follows:

1. Heart rate and blood pressure

Damage to the nerves that control heart rate and blood pressure can cause these nerves to respond more slowly to changes in body position, physical activity, stress, sleep, and breathing patterns.

symptoms of autonomic dysfunction

Patients may experience dizziness when the autonomic nervous system is damaged

The person may feel light-headed or faint when getting up from a sitting or lying position, or when performing a physical activity. You may have a fast heart rate or a sudden increase/slower in your heart rate. You may also feel chest pain when your heart is not getting enough oxygen.

2. Digestive system

Damage to the nerves of the digestive system can cause symptoms such as:

  • Stomach bloating, flatulence and nausea
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea, especially at night
  • Diarrhea alternating with constipation
  • Having trouble swallowing
  • No stool control

Nervous system disorders also have the potential to cause stomach disorders. This is a disorder that slows or stops the movement of food from the stomach to the small intestine. Stomach disorders can prevent the body from absorbing glucose and using insulin properly. These problems will make it difficult for you to control your blood sugar.

3. Bladder

Damage to the nerves of the bladder can make it difficult to tell when you need to urinate and when your bladder is empty. This damage causes you to hold your urine for too long and can easily lead to bladder infections. You may also leak urine or be unable to hold urine (urinary incontinence).

4. Genital organs

In men, damage to the nerves in the genitals can prevent the penis from getting an erection during sex. This condition is also known as erectile dysfunction. In addition, men can also have problems with ejaculation.

In women, damage to the nerves in the genitals can cause vaginal dryness. A woman may also have little sensation around the vagina and have difficulty reaching orgasm during sex.

autonomic dysfunction symptoms

Sexual dysfunction is a fairly typical symptom of autonomic neuropathy

5. Sweat glands

Damage to the nerves that control sweat glands can cause you to sweat a lot at night or while eating. The sweat glands may not function at all. Or some parts of the body sweat while other parts are dry. If your sweat glands are not functioning properly, you may not be able to control your temperature.

6. Eyes

Damage to the nerves in your eyes can make your eyes less responsive to changes in light and darkness. Your eyes will usually take longer to adjust as you step down into a dark room. You may also have trouble seeing the lights of other vehicles when driving at night.

7. The ability to sense the symptoms of hypoglycemia

Autonomic dysfunction can make the patient unable to recognize the symptoms of hypoglycemia. Often, the initial symptoms of low blood sugar can be dizziness, hunger, irritability, feeling confused or anxious.

If nerve damage prevents you from feeling these symptoms, you may not be able to get treatment for your low blood sugar in time. This can lead to severe hypoglycemia, causing you to pass out.

Causes of autonomic nervous disorder

Autonomic dysfunction is often associated with a variety of causes. It can be a health condition, a side effect of treatments for other diseases, most often cancer. Common causes of autonomic neuropathy include:

causes of autonomic nervous disorder

Advanced diabetes increases the risk of autonomic dysfunction

  • Poorly controlled diabetes is a very common cause. The progression of diabetes can cause nerve damage throughout the body.
  • Abnormal protein buildup in organs, also known as amyloidosis. This condition can affect both organs and the nervous system.
  • Autoimmune diseases, in which the immune system attacks and damages parts of the body, including the nerves.
  • Examples include rheumatoid arthritis, celiac disease, systemic lupus erythematosus, sjogren’s syndrome. Guillain Barre syndrome is one of the rapidly occurring autoimmune diseases with the potential to affect the autonomic nervous system.
  • An abnormal attack of the immune system due to certain cancers (paraneoplastic syndromes) can also be the cause of autonomic dysfunction.
  • Side effects of certain medications, especially cancer drugs (chemotherapy) are also thought to be quite common.
  • Some genetic disorders can also cause autonomic dysfunction.
  • Some viruses and bacteria, such as HIV or those that cause botulism and Lyme disease.
  • Porphyria and hypothyroidism may also increase the risk of autonomic dysfunction.

Diagnosis of autonomic nervous disorder

To diagnose autonomic neuropathy, doctors usually base on symptoms and risk factors. If you have a medical condition that increases your risk of autonomic disorder, such as diabetes, and you have symptoms of it, your doctor will do a physical exam and discuss your symptoms.

If you are being treated for cancer with certain drugs known to cause nerve damage, your doctor will check for signs of neurological disease.

Diagnosis of autonomic nervous disorder

Doctors often take history and symptoms to support the diagnosis of autonomic disorder

If you have symptoms of autonomic neuropathy but no risk factors are detected, the diagnosis is often more difficult. In addition to reviewing your medical history, discussing your symptoms, and doing a physical exam, your doctor may recommend the following tests:

  • Standard somatic and neurological examination
  • Automated heart check
  • Analysis of cardiovascular signal changes
  • Assess baroreceptor function by testing Baroreflex . sensitivity
  • Oxford method
  • Sequence engineering and spectroscopy
  • Sudomotor function test
    Thermoregulating sweat test
    Quantitative Sudomotor shaft reflex test
    Silastic imprint test
    Direct sweat test
    Quantification of direct and indirect axial reflection
    Sympathetic skin reaction test
    Urinalysis and bladder function tests
    Digestive tests

Direction of treatment of autonomic nervous disorders

Depending on the specific case, the doctor will come up with an appropriate treatment plan for each patient. Treatment for autonomic neuropathy may include:

1. Treatment of related health problems

As mentioned, autonomic dysfunction can be associated with a variety of health problems. Therefore, the first goal of treatment should be to control diseases or health conditions that cause nerve damage.

If the underlying cause is diabetes, attention should be paid to controlling blood sugar levels. This will help prevent the autonomic neuropathy from progressing.

In fact, depending on each disease involved, the doctor will diagnose and develop an appropriate treatment plan. The regimen may include medication, combination with other medical methods, and home care.

Treatment plant neurological disorders

Certain medications may be prescribed to treat related conditions

The problem of the patient is the need to adhere to the treatment regimen from the doctor. If you notice any abnormalities or the regimen does not respond, you should immediately notify your doctor for appropriate adjustment.

2. Controlling the symptoms of autonomic dysfunction

The main goal of the treatment of autonomic dysfunction is to control and improve symptoms. In fact, many treatments can help relieve the symptoms of the disease. Symptomatic treatment will usually be based on which part of your body the nerve damage is affecting the most.

  • Control digestive symptoms: First of all, it is recommended that patients need to adjust their diet, should increase fiber and fluids in the diet. Metoclopramide (Reglan), an over-the-counter laxative, or an antibiotic for diarrhea can be used.
  • Control urinary symptoms: A schedule of when to drink water and urinate should be followed. In addition, medications can be used to control bladder symptoms or aid in the urinary tract by catheterization.
  • Control sexual dysfunction: Men can use erectile dysfunction drugs like vardenafil (Levitra, Staxyn), tadalafil (Cialis), sildenafil (Viagra) and avanafil (Stendra). Alternatively, a vacuum pump device can be used for the penis. For women, doctors often recommend using a vaginal lubricant or using Flibanserin (Addyi) for premenopausal women with low sex drive.
  • Control heart rate and blood pressure symptoms: Doctors often recommend adding salt and fluids to the diet (not for patients with heart failure). In addition, Fludrocortisone can be used to help keep salt and regulate blood pressure. Or take Midodrine (Orvaten), droxidopa (Northera), and Pyridostigmine (Mestinon). Beta-blockers may also be helpful in regulating heart rate.
  • Control sweating: Your doctor may prescribe medications that reduce sweating, such as Glycopyrrolate, in cases of excessive sweating. However, Glycopyrrolate can cause dry mouth, blurred vision, diarrhea, headache, changes in heart rate, drowsiness, etc.

3. Home care measures

Experts recommend that, in addition to medical treatment, people with autonomic neuropathy should follow home care measures well. Consists of:

treat autonomic nervous disorders

Healthy eating is an important part of the management of autonomic neuropathy

  • Avoid using stimulants such as alcohol, tobacco, coffee, strong tea, etc.
  • Well control stress, always keep the spirit happy, positive and comfortable.
  • Absolutely do not overwork, know the balance between work and rest.
  • Pay attention to good care for the quality of sleep. Should go to bed early before 11 pm and make sure to get 7-8 hours of sleep every night.
  • Spend at least 30-45 minutes each day in physical activity to improve physical and mental health.
  • Pay attention to posture correction. When in a sitting position, stand up slowly to reduce dizziness. Before standing up, you can hold hands or bend your legs for a few seconds to increase blood flow.
  • You can do some relaxation tips such as aromatherapy, massage, deep breathing exercises, meditation, etc.
  • Adjust the diet, should eat many small meals to limit digestive problems. Prioritize foods high in fiber and low in fat to improve digestion.
  • You should raise the head of the bed about 10cm in case of low blood pressure. A support bar can be used at the bottom of the headboard.
  • Get help from family and friends. You can share your problems with your loved ones for encouragement.

Autonomic dysfunction causes many autonomic functions of the body to be severely affected. Early control is needed to avoid nuisances and troubles that reduce quality of life. It is best to actively consult a doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment instructions.

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