Autonomic neuropathy is damage to nerves that control your internal organs, leading to problems with your heart rate and blood pressure, digestive system, bladder, sex organs, sweat glands, and eyes. The damage can also lead to hypoglycemia unawareness.
About Autonomic Neuropathy
Autonomic neuropathy is not a single condition. Rather, it is a complication or side-effect caused by disrupted signals between the brain and the nervous system. Autonomic neuropathy refers to damage to the autonomic nervous system, which controls involuntary body functions such as:
- Heart rate
- Blood pressure
Symptoms of Autonomic Neuropathy
General symptoms of this condition may include:
- Inability to sweat properly, leading to heat intolerance
- Loss of bladder control, leading to infection or incontinence
- Dizziness, lightheadedness or fainting because of a loss of control over blood pressure
- Diarrhea, constipation or incontinence related to nerve damage in the intestines or digestive tract
- Difficulty eating or swallowing
- Life-threatening symptoms, such as difficulty breathing or irregular heartbeat
Cardiovascular Symptoms of Autonomic Neuropathy
Autonomic neuropathy can damage the nerves of the cardiovascular system, affecting heart rate and blood pressure. Often, the symptoms affect a certain system in the body:
- Blood pressure may drop sharply after you sit or stand, causing a feeling of lightheadedness.
- Heart rate may remain high or too low instead of fluctuating with body functions and exercise.
Gastrointestinal Symptoms of Autonomic Neuropathy
Damage to the nerves of the digestive system can cause:
- Constipation (sometimes alternating with diarrhea)
- Difficulty swallowing
- Gastroparesis, a condition in which the stomach empties too slowly, causing nausea, vomiting, bloating and loss of appetite. This condition can cause blood sugar levels to fluctuate greatly.
Urinary and Sexual Symptoms of Autonomic Neuropathy
A person with autonomic neuropathy can have problems with urination and sexual function:
- Bladder infections: Nerve damage can prevent the bladder from emptying completely, which can lead to bladder infections.
- Urinary incontinence: This may develop because a person may not be able to sense when the bladder is full.
- Erectile problems: Men may have problems having an erection due to damage to nerves that cause an erection. A separate problem, damage to the penis, may also cause erectile problems.
- Vaginal dryness: A woman may have problems with vaginal dryness, arousal or orgasm.
Vision-Related Symptoms of Autonomic Neuropathy:
Autonomic neuropathy also can affect the pupils of the eyes, causing the eyes to adapt slowly to changing light. This makes it difficult to see when driving at night or when a light is switched on in a dark room.
Sweating Due to Autonomic Neuropathy:
Damage to the nerves that control sweating means that you may have trouble regulating your body temperature. Night sweats or sweating while eating also may occur.
Looking for Autonomic Neuropathy Treatment in Ocean County or Essex County, New Jersey?
Dr. Manooj Prasad at Garden State Foot & Ankle Group of Toms River is a highly-experienced podiatrist with an ardent mission to help those suffering from foot, ankle, and lower leg issues. He offers personalized care while considering each patient’s individual lifestyle needs so that the best possible treatment can be administered. Based in both Essex County and Ocean County in New Jersey, service towns include Jackson, Belleville, Roseland, Point Pleasant, Cedar Grove, Livingston, Millburn, Short Hills, Lakewood, Ocean Gate, Lakehurst, Toms River, Montclair, and many more! For more information, you can contact us today at (732)557-9900 (Toms River) 973)450-3035 (Belleville) or explore our website.